High rain chance threatens annual ‘Spook’ event

Sam Pierce
Staff Writer

Despite a high chance of inclement weather Saturday, members of the Downtown Benton Business Owners Association expect the 10th annual Spook City celebration to go on as scheduled.
Spook City, which will be held on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., features booths from local businesses, churches, and organizations passing out candy to all trick-or-treaters.
“Everything is set for Saturday,” Wanda Posey said. “But if we have to have a rain day, it will be on Monday.”
Posey said if people are concerned about the weather, they can check either Spook City’s Facebook page or the Downtown Benton Events Facebook page.
“We will keep them updated on those two Facebook pages,” Posey said.
People may also call Posey at 501-317-9199 or Joyce Robinson at 501-840-1893, “because some people don’t get on Facebook,” Posey said.
If it does rain on Saturday, the rain date will be Monday, Oct. 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. Posey said they will make the decision by noon on Saturday.
“We have had to (reschedule) two times before in the 10 years we have had the event,” Posey said. “Some of the booths may not show up to pass out candy, but the kids always show up. It doesn’t seem to affect it on the rain days at all.”
According to the National Weather Service, there is currently an 80 percent chance of rain on Saturday with rainfall amounts between a quarter and a half of an inch possible, and a high of 73 degrees.
Spook City focuses on the lighter side of Halloween by providing a safe area for children to enjoy several blocks of fun.
City streets will be blocked off from traffic while the celebration is taking place. Local participants will provide trick-or-treating, carnival games, face-painting and more.
As always, this will be a safe event with security provided by the Benton Police Department, the Saline County Sheriff’s Office and the Benton High School JROTC.
Most of the activities are free, but a $5 wrist band can be purchased at each of the four “safe zones” located at the four main intersections.
The band lets a child have one Pirate Ship ride, two train rides, and unlimited inflatable fun on the courthouse lawn.
“In keeping with our tradition, admission is free for this non-profit event,” Posey said. “We want everyone to be able to come and have a great time.”
Activities returning this year are the climbing wall, inflatables on the courthouse lawn and two barrel trains.
New this year are three inflatable games including the Mini Hoop, Strike Zone, T-ball and Knock It Off. Children are urged to come dressed in costume.
Popular characters such as Ronald McDonald, Batman, the Chick-fil-A cows and Ace from the Arkansas Travelers will be circulating the crowd for pictures.
Posey said the cost for the event is about $9,000. The money is raised through donations from local businesses and other contributors.
“This event would not be possible without our sponsors, donors and our loyal businesses and volunteers,” Posey said.
Posey said businesses can set up a booth as late as the day of the event.
Food will be for sale at Burger Shack, Wells Concessions, Papa John’s Pizza and Spook City beverages.
The Royal Theatre will be providing candy to trick-or-treaters and the concessions stand will be open to sell movie popcorn, fountain drinks, candy, nachos and hot dogs.