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August 22 • 07:11 AM
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Imlay bustles with Halloween fun


Annual Merchant's Trick-or-Treat draws big crowd



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October 29, 2008
IMLAY CITY — Scary sounds, colorful costumes and chewy candy made for a howling good time during Saturday's Merchant Trick-or-Treat event downtown.

Dozens of youngsters, families and friends turned out for the Halloween event, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

The breezy gray day provided a ghostly backdrop for the spooky sounds of the season, provided by Tom Shutz of OutPut Entertainment.

Young performers from Extreme Cheer and Dance Studio drew a big crowd as they kicked up their heels to kick off the fun with a rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller.' Extreme Cheer's Sue Howard wasn't hard to miss as she led the troupe dressed in formal duds topped off with big, pink hair.

Of course Imlay Township's own Cruella Deville (Bernie Hillman) of Mr. Green Jean's Corn Maze was on hand to pose for photos with costumed kids.

Big Boy made an appearance as well, greeting the youngsters with a smile and some treats.

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Costumed crowd gathers as Rod and Krystal Young with Ana Chaoria, Austin Young and Carlos and Bianca Perales take seat for dance show. photo by Catherine Minolli.

Chamber director Sally Reinhardt showed her spirit by being among the first models for Wowie the Clown's creative face painting while others lined up for their turns.

"She does such great work," Reinhardt grinned.

As the streets teemed with eager trick-or-treaters Ted Collom of the American Legion post helped direct traffic and make sure participants made it safely across intersections.

The Hintz family decided to take advantage of the opportunity to introduce their little ones to Halloween. Taking part were mom Erin Hintz with her 20 month-old child Ryan, and grandfather Bob Hintz helped his little granddaughter Icele Kipp, also 20 months, stay warm.

Eleven-year-old Joseph Weichel was eager to pose with Cruella in his pirate duds, and Rod and Krystal Young had their hands full of little superheroes Bianca and Carlos Perales, Austin Young and Ana Chaoria.

Deane Forro of Emmett enjoyed spending the day trick-or-treating with her granddaughters Izabelle and Jazmine Haberski, and Weston Elementary School teacher Dina Tallis hit the streets with youngsters Carson Kempa, 9, and Ashlee Tallis, 8.

Robin Maes also had fun taking her kids, Thomas Boesler, 5, and Sebastian Maes, 3, through the merchant's shops for treats.

"It's a great turnout," Reinhardt commented when the event kicked off. "Families look forward to this every year and it's nice to see so many families enjoying themselves downtown."

While participating merchants decked out their stores—and themselves in many cases—for the occasion, the chamber awarded Viscount Pools & Spa the top spot for their decorations and costumes.

"Overall it was great, people love the new tent and the DJ," Reinhardt said of the Third and Bancroft St. setup. "Extreme Cheer and Dance Company was a big hit with about 30 dancers and their show was fantastic."

Reinhardt said she was also pleased that Big Boy and Cruella Deville visited downtown Imlay City.

Trick-or-Treaters blanketed the entire city, Reinhardt added, with the participating businesses along M-21 and M-53 keeping up with a brisk pace of visitors.

"We had a great turnout and maybe if it was a little warmer it would have even been better," Reinhardt said. "But businesses throughout the area were quite busy during the event."

Chamber president Ken Swanstrom said the event once again achieved its goal.

"It's nice to have all the merchants participating and its great to see so many people in Imlay City," he said. "It's all about creating commerce and that's what this event helps do. We look forward to it again next year."

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