Fans of the Disney series of movies “Halloweentown” are surely familiar with the filming location in St. Helens, Oregon. We heard tell of someone who had come out from Boston specifically for this event. Admittedly, I’m not as huge a fan as some (not that I don’t love the movies) so this was my first trip out to St. Helens for the annual celebration. The town goes all out for this. I don’t know how much of a money-maker it is for them, but I’m sure it’s a much-needed infusion of cash for the local businesses.
We had perfect weather, which is always touch-and-go around here. It rained all day Friday, and is raining again today as I write this, but yesterday (October 6) was sunny and warm, with a little breeze. We couldn’t have asked for more. I got the “All Access Pass” ($35) which gets you into the Festival of the Fairies, Museum of Oddities, the Alien Landscape. I didn’t make it to the Alien Landscape, the tractor that tows the shuttle broke down at one point in the middle of the road where the parade was going to come through later, but luckily they got it running again later and out of the street in time for the parade
This pumpkin is not as big as the one in the movie, although it does light up at night.
The city hosts a scarecrow contest for the local businesses, so they almost all have some kind of scarecrow outside. The driver of the shuttle that took us out to the Museum of Oddities was filling us in on some of the nuts and bolts of where the money goes from the All Access tickets (not to the city coffers, apparently, but to scholarships sponsored by the Rotary Club and other organizations).
The gargoyle in the pics above was being playful and obliged me by posing menacingly for pictures. At first he looked like part of the display, but started creeping up on another kid looking at the skeleton. He was clearly having a lot of fun.
A lot of people were dressed up in costumes, but not as many as I’d hoped. I had planned to dress as a witch myself, but didn’t finish my cloak in time. Next time…
The parade for some reason was very late getting down to the Plaza. It was supposed to run from 6-7, but didn’t even get going (at least didn’t reach the plaza) until very late, nearly 8:00. By then the crowd on the sidewalks was spilling into the street where cars are typically parked, leaving a relatively narrow route for the parade to move through when it finally arrived. A couple of small children almost got trampled by a horse, but their mother managed to pull them back in time.
Everyone was in a good mood and friendly and cheerfully taking pics for others while they posed in various places. There was a line to get a photo with the big Jack pumpkin most of the day, so I was very lucky to get a shot of it with no one standing next to it.
We didn’t see any of the actors from the films, but I understand several of them were around somewhere.
The paving stones pictured above run all through the plaza park. Some are plain, but many have snippets from the diaries of Lewis and Clark.
While waiting for the parade, my party and I took up a spot on the sidewalk in front of the local repertory theater, and were lucky enough to be standing next to one of the people involved in it, who was telling us about some upcoming performances. They’re called The ShoeString Community Players. They’ll be doing a re-enactment of Orson Welles’ broadcast of “War of the Worlds” in a couple of weeks that we hope to go back for. I’m not sure how that’s going to be done, but sounded like fun and affordable at $5 a ticket.
It was a fun day, and there’s lots you can do and see for free. More info on their Facebook page. I plan to go back and explore St. Helens a little more, it’s a nice little town.