Boo-Palooza 2011 & Color Wheel Studio
If abundant smiles, colorful costumes, and gobs of tiny witches, skeletons and tree frogs (well, there was just one tree frog, he walked away with the third-place-runner up prize in the Costume Contest!) were any indication, a fun and memorable time was experienced by everyone who attended Boo-Palooza in Wicker Park’s park this past Saturday, Oct. 30.
All anecdotal evidence and warm fuzzy photos aside, the stats from the community-produced gathering, which took place on what could only be described as a perfect fall day, were just as impressive as the many smiles.
According to organizer Doug Wood of the Wicker Park Advisory Council, at least 2,000 people participated in Boo-Palooza. 250 pumpkins were distributed to children in less than two hours and promptly painted at the Easel Art-sponsored craft station. 33 groups and organizations contributed to the event’s success.
Forty-eight dedicated volunteers popped by the park the Friday evening prior, to clean and number pumpkins, string apples, organize prizes, and decorate the field house. Five more folks unloaded and arranged pumpkins, corn stalks, and straw via the generosity of Christy Webber and Iron Creek Farms on the morning of the event. 114 volunteers and nearly 20 community groups and local businesses including Chicago Pipeline held court at information booths, trick or treat tables, and the ‘Spider Photo Booth.’
For Dr. Melissa Connell, DDS, ofChildren’s Dentistry of Bucktown, Boo-Palooza’s allure was so powerful that she decided to take a break from her maternity leave (she’s due with a second child in three days, Wed. Nov. 2nd!) to chill out at her booth and disburse special candy containing a non tooth eroding sugar substitute as she has done in previous Boo-Paloozas.
“This is so much fun,” Dr. Melissa said of the Boo-Palooza, adding, “I want to be here.” Then we snapped some fun shots of Dr. Melissa while thinking that by this time next year, her newest family addition will probably be dressed as a chili pepper, lady bug, beer, skunk, or any number of inventive infant and toddler costumes which were conceived by the neighborhood’s most creative young-at-heart parents and featured during a Costume Parade around the park’s fountain.
The first place winner of the Costume Contest was Miller, a young boy dressed as a minion from the movie, Despicable Me, of which he’s seen “only about 26 times” according to Miller’s dad, Donald, owner of theColor Wheel Studio. We reached Donald by phone after the event and asked him a few questions about the costume, which took an approx. 45 hours to make while working “a little bit here and there” for the past month.
Competition was steep in the canine costume category. First Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno announced the winning dogs, along with Dog parade organizer Paige Ormond ofDoggy Style Pet Shop. Paige, in case you’re wondering, was the brains behind the “bobbing for tennis balls” canine activity station.
Boo-Palooza 2012… we can’t wait!