Sisters kids will take to the streets for Halloween
Last updated 10/6/2021 at Noon
Sweater weather is coming and that means the annual children’s Halloween parade through downtown. The annual event was not officially sanctioned last year during the height of COVID-19 restrictions, but it happened anyway — an impromptu outbreak by kids, parents, and merchants sensing a compelling need to allow children to have as much normalcy in their lives as possible.
“This year’s event is all official,” said Rand Reitmann, incoming president of Sisters Rotary Club. Rotary is the permit holder from the City to sponsor the event.
“It takes a village,” Reitmann said. “There are a lot of moving parts to this — traffic safety chief among them, getting waivers from the parents coordinating with the merchants who really are the key to it all.”
The stores on the parade route hand out treats and other goodies, many fresh baked. Last year saw Sisters Bakery and Sweet Easy Co. along with Candy Corral among the most popular stops. “We must have given out over 300 ice cream and cookie servings last year,” said Kara Lappe, owner of Sweet Easy, who is delighted that this year it will be more official.
“This is the highlight of our year,” said Lappe who will personally bake the cookies her shop will hand out.
Photos from the 2020 “pop up” parade make it difficult to tell who was having the most enjoyment, the kids or the merchants, the majority of whom were in costume, some quite elaborate.
A number of Sisters folk took exception to last year’s spontaneous Halloween walk, thinking it was a possible COVID spreader event or putting kids unnecessarily at risk. Organizers for this year’s event scheduled for Friday, October 29, will monitor for masks and whatever other compliance to Oregon Health Authority guidelines are in existence. Oregon is the only state to require outdoor masking for even the vaccinated, no matter the group’s size.
The cost is minimal — canned food goods, one for each child participating. Cans and kids should be brought to the assembly area at North Fir Street and East Main Avenue, and be ready to roll at 3 p.m. Food collected will be donated to Sisters Food Bank operated by Kiwanis Club.
As in the past, the parade-goers will assemble at Fir Street Park after school and be divided into manageable-sized groups. Rotarians will provide traffic safety at intersections while Club members — in costume — will lead the revelers on staggered routes to avoid congestion and overwhelming shopkeepers.
Past events have seen as many as 300 children joined by nearly as many parents and grandparents. The fun is targeted primarily to elementary- and middle-school-age children. That seemingly has been no barrier to teens and young adults, who enthusiastically join the festive setting, in some cases with Hollywood-level makeup.
“Parents or guardians must register in advance for their kiddos to march. Forms can be downloaded at https://www.filedropper.com/reg (click “Download This File” in center) and need to be handed in at the staging area before the start of the walk,” Reitmann emphasized. Children will be on the sidewalks and crossing streets from roughly 3 to 5 p.m., and drivers are asked to be extra cautious.
City Manager Cory Misley is excited about the event.
“These kinds of community-driven events are part of what makes Sisters special,” he said. “We are blessed to have so many nonprofits like Rotary to generate these activities and bring them to life, especially since we do not have the level of staffing at the City level to manage all the good things like this that happen here.”
DD Ranch in Terrebonne is open every day but Monday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for U-pick, right up to Halloween day. Prices for the bright orange gourds range from $2 for 6-7 inches to $35 for 20-inch or larger diameter. On weekends through October 31, DD takes on a carnival-like atmosphere with food carts, music, face painting, artisan crafts, and more. Details at ddranch.net.
Smith Rock Ranch’s pumpkin patch and market is open 12-6 p.m. Tues.-Fri. and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. For other ranch activities such as the corn maze and pumpkin cannon, purchase tickets in advance at smithrockranch.com.