News from the Tennessee Valley Diversions

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A hootin’ and hollerin’ Halloween
Downtown to transform for Hoot with music, games, contests

By Patrice Stewart · 340-2446

From children’s games and a screaming contest to a Battle of the Bands and a musical production, Halloween Hoot promises something for everyone Saturday in downtown Decatur.

Second Avenue Southeast will be closed from Gordon Drive to Moulton Street to make room for art and crafts booths, entertainment stages, a moon walk and inflatable slide for the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A bingo booth with prizes is planned for Bank Street.

“We’re hoping for a booming time down there,” said Randy Tardy of Decatur’s Downtown Merchants Association, which planned the event.


Whether you’re a pretty princess or a creepy monster, all ages are encouraged to come dressed in their Halloween best. Children can show off their costumes during a 4:30 p.m. parade from Gordon Drive and Second Avenue to the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts.

A costume contest (age categories are infant through 5, 6 through 10, and 11 and up) will be judged from 5 to 6 p.m. at the theater.

For a shrieking good time, test your vocal chords at the best scream contest during that same time.

It’s an audience favorite because spectators choose the most blood-curdling scream with their applause, said Executive Director Lindy Ashwander.

Ashwander recalls heading the first Hoot in the late 1980s.

In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, families walked the downtown streets to trick-or-treat, she said. Now the event offers the safer alternative of “Trunk-or-Treating,” where candy will be handed out from car trunks, from 5:30 to 6 on Second Avenue.

“We try to preserve some of our traditions in Decatur, and we stayed with that tradition as a way to get people back downtown,” she said.

Other children’s activities include a sidewalk chalk art competition from 10 to 2 and face painting from 10 to 3.


For music lovers, Hoot offers a Battle of the Bands and performances by vocalists and musicians on two stages.

“We’ve had so many requests we had trouble accommodating them all,” said Chester Cox of Emiron Music Inc., who will emcee the battle.

“When I was a kid, there was always one going on somewhere, but I don’t remember having a Battle of the Bands for a Halloween Hoot before.”

The winner will play at The Brick on New Year’s Eve.


Frankenstein’s Monster, Igor, Dracula, the Mummy and the Werewolf will stir up comical drama with “I’m Sorry the Bridge Is Out, You’ll Have to Spend the Night.” DreamWeavers theater group will present the musical at 6 p.m. at Princess Theatre.

Director Mickey Johnson said two performances also are scheduled Friday, with a 9 a.m. show for school students, home-schoolers, senior citizens and others. Teens may want to attend the midnight show. Tickets are $6 to $11, available by calling Princess Theatre, 340-1778, or DreamWeavers’ president Colleen Gilhooly, 351-7015.

Art, crafts

Artists, crafters and other vendors continue to sign up for booths.

Judi Tardy said 58 had registered for booths by Friday. Exhibitors will be selling items such as pottery, jewelry, purses, floral arrangements and antiques.

“There will be plenty of free parking, and I hope everyone will stop at our downtown restaurants for food or to watch a ball game, and visit our merchants for treats and sales,” Tardy said.

Entertainment schedule

Here is Saturday’s tentative schedule for the two stages during Halloween Hoot:

Stage 1: (near Coffee Bean Café and Selma’s on Second)

10 a.m. — Harold Key, bluegrass music

11 a.m. — vocalist Gary McKenzie

Noon— vocalist Brooke Higdon

1 p.m. to 2:55 p.m. (15-minute slots) — Vocalists Hunter King, Kaylon King, Brian Verchot, Kimber Reeves, Gracie Anderton, Bailey McRae, Taylor Miller and Gabriel Guthrie

3 p.m. — Margie Cumbie (Patsy Cline songs)

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. — John Wayne Abbott (Willie Nelson songs)

Stage 2:

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — vocalists Tasha Hill, Katie Smith and Bailey McRae

11:30 a.m. — guitarist Clint Riddle

Noon — Chaos ’n’ Disorder, rock band

1 p.m. — Barnstormers, country folk music

1:30 p.m. — Jazmin Ghent, jazz saxophonist

2 p.m. — Decatur mural project (The Decatur Arts Council plans to explain how the project will beautify downtown.)

2:15 p.m. — Torn Curtain, Christian rock music

2:45 p.m. — DreamWeavers’ skit previewing the 6 p.m. play

3 p.m. — Human Clay, Christian rock band

3:30 p.m. — Green T Band, classic rock

4 to 5 p.m. — Ahead of the Wake, modern alternative rock band Want more?

For information, contact Judi Tardy at Selma’s on Second, 580-8100 or 318-2892, or e-mail

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