Anoka, “Halloween Capital of the World,” to Host 101st Annual Festival – KION546


By Jeff Wagner

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (WCCO) – A full month of much anticipated Halloween fun is back in Anoka.

The city usually pulls out all the stops, but the pandemic forced many changes last fall.

Rush hour traffic is lively along Main Street in downtown Wednesday afternoon. But in about a month, it will be parade floats with tens of thousands of people lined up on the streets as the “Halloween Capital of the World” returns to its original form.

Memories of Anoka’s Halloween celebration are sweet for Bryanna Burleson and her daughter, Maya.

“I know they all loved dressing up, showing off their costumes and buying candy, that was part of the experience for them,” Burleson said. “So to think that they must have missed him because of Covid-19 was really sad.”

The festivities were limited to a drive-through parade and several other moderated or canceled events in 2020, as concerns over the pandemic forced organizers to be cautious of large gatherings.

“It was strange last year. It was good, we had traffic, ”said Liz McFarland, President of Anoka Halloween 2021.

Her concerns are gone this year, except for remembering how to throw a typical Anoka celebration.

“We’re back in full swing. The traditional events, the parade planning, all three of them will be just as before, ”said McFarland.

Back in October, the Kids and Night Parades are back. The crowning glory is back, bingo nights and pumpkin carving. Wine and Canvas events will be in person this year instead of on Zoom.

The Grand Parade will follow its traditional Main Street route, bringing with it a huge crowd that will again delight local businesses. It has attracted up to 60,000 people in recent years.

“I think we’re really looking forward to seeing all of the kids,” said Alivia Tatum, manager of Two Scoops Ice Cream Shop. “And I hope they really like ice cream. We have so many great flavors right now.

A century of celebrations, where it all began.

“Even though this is our 101st year, it really is our 100th year as an event,” said McFarland.

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