AFTER a week dominated by bad news in the Lithgow community it was refreshing to see so many happy people enjoying themselves at the city’s Halloween14 celebration at the weekend.
What began as an experiment by Lithgow Council last year has exploded into what must surely be one of the most successful community street parties in regional Australia.
Last year was an amazing success; this year was even better.
Even the weather cooperated.
Literally thousands of people thronged Main Street throughout the length of the CBD with others enjoying the occasion with other off street promotions at the Valley Plaza.
While last year the party began late afternoon this time it was a day long event, beginning with activities largely involving schoolchildren from early morning.
But it was when school hours were over that the Halloweeners really came out to play.
Crowds began building in the CBD from mid afternoon Friday with costumes evident everywhere — and not just on a Halloween theme.
Fairies, superheroes and a whole host of dress-ups mingled with the creatures of the night.
Even her best friends would not have recognised mayor Maree Statham hidden behind a flowing crimson cloak and a golden mask.
Youngsters in their fancy dress were quickly descending on local businesses for their tricking or treating, in some numbers that even well prepared locations had to quickly find fresh supplies of giveaways.
It was not just the east end, where the street was closed for the main game; the entire length of the CBD was experiencing its busiest Friday afternoon for months in terms of people out and about.
As night fell the crowds continued to swell and more and more fantastic costumes appeared.
Food outlets and hotels were packed and hundreds who could find a seat enjoyed leisurely snacks at open air ‘cafes’ set up in the middle of the street and in Cook Plaza.
One east end outlet reported selling $1500 worth of ice cream alone.
Other participating shops were also busy.
The masked and mysterious Blue Mountains drum band was a hit with the crowds while elsewhere across the town the stay at homes were impressed by the laser light show flicking in beams across the valley.
Ironfest boss Macgregor Ross was particularly impressed with the sunset as Halloween got into full swing.
“It was perfectly located to be framed by the street and looked magnificent for the start of the night session,” he said.
“The gods were indeed smiling on us.”
There was clear evidence that many of the enthusiastic revellers came from out of town — including two young female exchange students from France who were staying with a Lithgow family.
The witches, warlocks, good fairies, bad fairies, zombies and their like can hardly wait for next October.
Tick up another great initiative for Lithgow Council, development officer Matt Brewster and their various Halloween sponsors.