Summerside’s Witches on Water event exceeds last year’s numbers
SUMMERSIDE – The downtown district was haunted with hundreds of ghoulish and fun characters Saturday afternoon, all hunting down the Witches of Water Street.
© Michael Nesbitt/Journal Pioneer
Ben Costain and Seth Bulger took full advantage of the painting table set up at McNeill Mall for the Witches on Water Street participants.
It was the second year for the event, which expected to exceed the 700 participants it registered last year.
Tammy MacDougall had brought her daughters Callie and Maria downtown to shop, but when the children saw what was happening they demanded to join the fun.
“The kids wanted to go home to change and come back down,” MacDougall laughed.
The event extended from 1 to 4 p.m., with a steady flow of participants following the nine scavenger clues to various businesses.
“We are tracking over 500 right now, ” revealed event organizer Reasha Walsh halfway through the afternoon.
Walsh operates the Spotlight Theatre Company, whose students promoted and supervised activities, along with other community volunteers.
Events included a costume contest, pumpkin painting, bobbing for apples and, of course, loading up on treats from destinations.
There were nine clues to the ‘witch hunt’, each leading to a specific businesses along Water Street. All businesses open on Saturday were participating in the event in some way, thanks to the partnership with Downtown Summerside Inc.
“We’re trying to build a community. With everyone on board, it makes us more vibrant and beautiful,” Walsh explained.
“It’s awesome community engagement to see this many people out,” exclaimed Downtown Summerside Inc. executive director Pam Montgomery, who sees Halloween annually becoming a more active celebration.
Participants got a clue sheet, which they had stamped at each location. The sheet was submitted at the end for a chance to win a prize.
For most of the costumed kids, of course, the prize was enjoying the event and getting to extend the Halloween traditions of costume and candy collecting.
Ashley Greencorn and her three children, aged two to five-years-old, appreciated the effort and organization.
“Halloween (traditionally an evening event) is a little late, so it’s good to get out in the daytime. They can see more of the other kids, too,” said Greencorn.
Stephan Greencorn said with all the costumed kids moving around and along Water Street it might be a good idea to close the street for the afternoon.
Two business owners questioned about the idea thought it would be an acceptable adjustment, with one offering an alternate idea of crossing guards to control traffic.
Walsh said such a closure had been considered but that the popularity of the event needed to be confirmed before implementing such an action.
“It’s a great idea — fun for the kids and good for business,” MacDougall conceded before following the girls to the next destination.