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Families enjoy 1st Trick or Treat on the Trail event
Rock Creek Park festivities include candy, games and petting zoo
Jana Lovell gives candy to Roger Torres, 7, while brother Ruben, 4, follows closely behind. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Rock Creek Park overflowed with costumed kids and adults at the first annual Trick or Treat on the Trail.

Presented by Gainesville Parks and Recreation and North Georgia Families Magazine, kids of all ages came out to enjoy trick-or-treating at hand-built and painted houses, games, a bounce house and a petting zoo. Raffle prizes ranging from fleece blankets to a Kindle.

Julie Butler Colombini and Jessica Wade, event coordinators for Trick or Treat on the Trail, wanted to find a fun and festive way to bring more attention to Rock Creek Park.

"We're allowing the visitors to walk along the trail and we have house-fronts set up so the kids can go up the houses and receive candy. At the end of the event, we're going to be showing the movie, ‘Hocus Pocus,'" Wade said.

People began lining up 30 minutes before the event began, candy buckets ready.

The trail filled up quickly, leading parents and children through the row of houses and past games, face painting tables and the petting zoo.

"We've been brainstorming for several months about the perfect event to showcase this park. With the amphitheater and the beautiful trail, I have always wanted to do a trick-or-treat event. It's safe, family friendly, whimsical," Colombini said. "We could not have done it if our sponsors hadn't stepped in."

Local businesses sponsored the houses along the trail and donated the movie. Smiles lit the faces of every boy and ghoul in the park.

Isabel Wendel couldn't choose which of the events at the park were her favorite, but said she would do it again next year. Tracey Wendel, Isabel's mother, agrees.

"Lots of people turned out. I think you've got enough people here that (they) could make it longer," Wendel said.

Colombini has planned to make next year's event bigger and better.

"We're going to expand it next year. The Green Way connects into Ivey Terrace, the oldest park in Gainesville. It's two miles from start to the end," Colombini said.

The event was free to attend, with canned goods donations being collected for the Georgia Mountain Food Bank. All proceeds from the raffles went to the park and to the At Play Fund for underprivileged children.


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