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Halloween celebration on tap Saturday

October 27, 2012

Ghosts and goblins and tigers and bears and all things in between will be lining the streets of Downtown Benton on Saturday night.
This is the time for the annual Spook City, a project of the Downtown Benton Association.
"The Wild Side," an entire block filled with animals, will be a highlight of this year's celebration, according to coordinator Lisa Baldwin.Activities will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.
Baldwin noted that the event celebrates "the lighter side of Halloween by providing a safe area for children 12 and under to enjoy six blocks of Halloween fun," which will be blocked off from vehicular traffic.
More than 100 local participants will provide trick-or-treating, carnival games, face-painting, Bongo Willie and more, Baldwin said.
"Children may bring their own bags to hold treats," she said. "However, treat bags also will be provided on each street corner, courtesy of Papa John's Pizza."
Baldwin explained that the "The Wild Side" will include a variety of small farm animals that will be available to pet. Included will be donkeys, goats and pot-bellied pigs, courtesy of the Jeff Mattingly Foundation.
Pony rides will be offered at no cost, thanks to the donation of The Thomas Agency, Baldwin noted. And costumed horses from Mini Dreams Miniature Horses will be present.
"Exotic animals including miniature monkeys, llamas and camels also will be shown," Baldwin said.
"Children can have their photo made with a monkey and enjoy a camel ride for $5 each," she added.
Another new addition to Spook City will be a vehicle display by the Rot Rods Antique Car Club of Benton, which will have more than 20 cars at the event.
Treats for children will provided at the site of each car, Baldwin said.
There is no entrance fee for Spook City, Baldwin said. "This is sthanks to the generous donations of Mr. and Mrs. James Posey, Mr. and Mrs. Justin Posey, John Young, The Roberson Agency, Golden 'K' Kiwanis Club and the city of Benton."
Children are invited to participate in a costume-fashion show and street dance on Market Street. This is sponsored by Saline County Collector Joy Ballard.
Train rides will be available for a $3 charge and a climbing wall is available for a $5 charge.
Admission is $1 for the Saline County CASA haunted house, Baldwin said.
Two inflatables will be available at $1 per visit, she noted. "We encourage the public to purchase Spook City T-shirts for $10 at Paradise Pets and Books & Baubles in Downtown Benton.
"With the purchase of a T-shirt, children will get a treat bag and a wristband to wear the night of the event for unlimited inflatable fun at no cost," she said.
Also, Build-A-Pal workshop will be providing an opportunity to make and dress stuffed animals, Baldwin noted.
"Special pre-pay coupons are on sale at Books & Baubles for $15 until the day before the event," she added. "This allows youngsters to select any animal and outfit for just $15."
For each prepaid coupon sold, $4 will be given to the Rice Depot. Without the prepaid coupon, cost to built an animal starts at $15. Clothing and accessories will e charged individually.
Concessions will be available at The Burger Shack and the Royal Theatre and also will be sold throughout Spook city.
Baldwin noted that Spook city is coordinated with the Benton Police Department.
The lawn at the Saline County courthouse and six blocks of streets will be blocked off in the downtown area to provide safety for the crowd, she said.
On each corner will be a designated "safe spot" sponsored by Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington. These will be manned by personnel from the sheriff's office.
In the event of the threat of heavy rain, Spook City will be rescheduled for Monday, Oct. 29, Baldwin said.
To obtain additional information or to sign up to participate in a particular event, call 551-1100.

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