By Cory L. Higgs

T’was a dark and stormy night in Patrick County, but that didn’t damper the Halloween Spirit at the 5th annual Spooktacular. Inclement weather didn’t stop trick-or-treaters from coming out and enjoying the festivities at the event that was held inside the Rotary Building in Stuart.

With hazardous conditions outside, families flocked to the event, creating a line of vehicles that stretched from the building to the main road, attendees said.

The “PCYP (Patrick County Young Professionals) were blown away by the outcome from the community and were really thankful that we, PCYP, were able to provide a safe, dry and spooky event for everyone,” said Erica Cipko, of the PCYP, which organizes the event. She estimated 2,500 people attended.

Some of the traditional activities were canceled due to the move indoors; however, the Llama Parade and bouncy castles made it inside. Imagine Circus performed two shows, with juggling and acrobatics that drew laughter and applause from the crowd.

“The fact that our vendors showed up with all of their props, decorations, Halloween spirit and tons of candy were just testimonies that Patrick County loves Halloween, trick-or-treaters, and their community,” Cipko said. “We were very glad that there was a space large enough to hold all of our attendees and all their Halloween goodness, but we’re looking forward to the 6th annual Stuart Spooktacular back on Main Street.”

Contest winners for the table decorating contest were the crew from Stuart Concrete whose booth and costumes were teamed around the hit movie “Ghostbusters.’ The winner of the Jack-O-Lantern contest was Nina Young, whose pumpkin sported her initials and some other spooky decorations.

And, with wall to wall people, there was no shortage of unique and impressive costumes. From spooky and down-right scary to lighthearted and comical, those in costume joined in the Costume Parade, and showed off their spooky style on an improvised runway in the center of the building, led by Imagine Circus’ Mirror Man, whose reflective suit could be seen from any corner of the crowded room.

One notable costume was that of Hazel Parrott, who was celebrating her first Halloween. While Hazel decline to comment, her mother said that she had made quite the candy haul and met her candy quota for the year. Hazel was dressed as the Great Pumpkin from Charlie Brown.

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