FAIR HAVEN — Scare Haven may have been a better name for the small village at the top of Cayuga County Saturday, as witches and other ghouls invaded Main Street.
The annual All Hallows’ Eve event brought a flock of witches, warlocks, wizards and other wonders out for a day of revelry.
“This is the festival we have every fall to get ready for winter and do something for the kids,” Fair Haven Chamber of Commerce member Pat Cooper Maxon said. “We’ve got a benefit for the food pantry, some unique vendors, games and the mulled cider is excellent.”
One of the main draws for the yearly celebration is the witches parade.
Led by a tricked out hearse and followed by the headless horseman mounted atop his hellish steed, a throng of spellcasters decked out in pointy hats and black cloaks crowded past the village's Main Street Park to the cheers of parents and neighbors.
“I couldn’t believe how many witches we had this year,” Maxon said. “I was standing here and they went all the way out of sight on this side and all the way out of sight on the other side. It had to have been hundreds.”
Maxon said the yearly fall festival is one of a series of events designed to entice visitors to the village and encourage shopping at the local businesses.
“It’s something we put on for our neighboring communities,” she said. “People who live 15 to 20 minutes away can come in and have fun here in Fair Haven.”
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After adding a May Fest this year, the village now holds a festival to celebrate every season.
Lily Boorsman of Conquest brought her 3-year-old son Jacob dressed in a Batman costume.
“It's good to have something like this where the kids can get dressed up and have some fun,” she said. “A lot of these kids live in more rural areas and you can't really go trick-or-treating because the houses are so far apart and sometimes the weather's bad by then.”
Children in Halloween costumes were a regular sight in the park where they trailed after their parents through arts and crafts vendors and played spooky games like “Pin the Wart on the Witch” and “Rat Race,” a game in which large inflatable dice were rolled to race rubber rats across a game board.
“I liked playing with the rats,” 6-year-old Jessica Frenchman said as her mother smiled down at her. “They felt squishy and gross.”
Maxon said the turnout at the event was beyond her expectations.
“It's a big success, especially for an overcast day,” she said. “I just hope we can make it bigger and better next year.”
Staff writer Nathan Baker can be reached at 282-2238 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at CitizenBaker.