Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Halloween parade praise

The start of the Douglas Halloween Parade for Adults on Oct. 29.

Organizers of the Douglas Halloween Parade for Adults confirmed what the thousands of participants already knew — the Saturday, Oct. 29, parade was a success.

"I spoke with many of the merchants over the weekend and their perspective was that the steps the city took to control the Halloween parade were a huge success," Bill Schumacher of the downtown development authority wrote to the Douglas City Council Oct. 31. "I didn't hear of any problems."

One of the volunteers at the parade.
Last year's parade overwhelmed the downtown with more than 2,500. There were only two police officers at the event. Many participants in 2010 carried open containers of alcohol and climbed atop garbage cans and light poles to see the parade. No one was hurt, but the potential for trouble frightened the city council.

City Manager Bill LeFevere, who was new in town last year, summed up the 2010 parade: "It scared the crap out of me," he said Monday night. This year, he said, was much better organized.

Organizers added more than a city block to the parade route and started marchers at Beery Field park instead of on the street itself to better manage the swelling sea of spectators. Barriers borrowed from the Holland Department of Public Safety lined the edges of the route, keeping the more than 4,000 spectators from clogging the way.

This year, five uniformed police officers monitored the crowd and 16 orange-vested volunteers made sure the marchers flowed smoothly and nothing got out of control.

"I do think our volunteers were instrumental in the success of this year's parade," Schumacher wrote.

Organizer Ginger Wilkinson thanked the city of helping with the event.

"I think this was the best parade of all and you all played a big part in its success," she wrote to the city manager and staff.

Here's a link to The Sentinel photo gallery of the parade: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/photo/x1321421367/Douglas-Halloween-Parade-for-Adults?page=0

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