Oct. 30—Carey Holbrook
Ghouls, goblins, and ghosts roamed Richmond on Thursday as Halloween Hoedown made its return to downtown for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richmond Parks and Recreation Director Erin Moore estimated around 6,000 people attended the the event — far exceeding their estimate of 2,000 attendees for the event.
However, the increase in crowd size also caused some families to wait in long lines for rides on inflatables and to receive candy.
"The idea and concept are great for the kids, but crowd movement has always been an issue," resident John Osborne said in a comment on The Register's Facebook page.
Other commenters suggested a focus on organization and crowd movement in future years.
Over 125 community organizations and businesses set up vendor stations to give out candy. The number is on track with the participation increase with other Parks and Recreation events in 2022. According to parks officials, past Halloween Hoedowns have had around 70 vendor booths.
Many vendors got into the spirit by dressing up alongside trick-or-treaters.
Moore had told the vendors to provide over 2,000 pieces of candy to accommodate attendees — with many going through all their candy stock on Thursday.
Several performances were featured at the Halloween Hoedown such as the Caudill Middle School Band from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Force Dance Academy from 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m., Action Martial Arts from 7:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the Bluegrass Cloggers from 7:40 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The family-friendly festival has been a community tradition since 2006.
In 2020, a drive-thru version of the event was held at Lake Reba. It was planned to be held in-person at Lake Reba in 2021, but had to be canceled due to bad weather. To counter that, the parks department donated their candy to Eastern Kentucky University's HoopFest and encouraged trick or treaters to attend that event.
"2019 was the last year we held Halloween Hoedown downtown so it feels great to be returning. We have heard a lot of great feedback about the event being in downtown again," said Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator Elizabeth Foster said in a previous interview with the Register.