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This year marks the 12th anniversary for the annual festival, which runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. downtown. Crews will close off streets downtown at 5:30 p.m. Friday to start getting ready.
The undead plan to rise in the Zombie Zone at the YWCA, 138 Lamar Ave, all day. The second Zombie Walk begins at 2 p.m. Paris Community Theater gets in on the scares from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the PCT Haunted Theater Tours.
Speaking of theaters, this year’s event includes tours of the Grand Theatre. Sign-in is at the Main Street Booth, with the first beginning at 11 a.m. Each tour is guided by a local historian.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a fall festival without costumes. Registration begins at 9 a.m. for the pet pageant and dog/owner look alike costume contest, sponsored by the Lamar County Humane Society. Competition begins at 9:30 a.m.
Pets aren’t the only ones getting in on the costume contests. Kids get a chance to strut their spooky stuff in the Halloween Costume Contest — sponsored by the city Parks and Recreation Department — at the corner of Lamar Avenue and 1st Street. Children up to age 3 go first at 1 p.m.; kids ages 4-7 go at 1:45 p.m. and those 8 to 12 go at 2:30. First, second and third place will be awarded in each age division. Each age group checks in 15 minutes before the division competition.
Think you’ve got a knack for artistic gourds? Submit a pumpkin for the decorated pumpkin competition from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Main Street Booth on the east side of the Plaza. Popular vote from 10 a.m. to noon will decide the winner in the competition, which is sponsored by Peoples Bank. Winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. in three age divisions: 8 and under, 9 to 13 and 14-plus.
Tasting begins at 1 p.m. for the Main Street Freeze-off. This is the second year for the Main Street-sponsored ice cream competition. Contestants must register by 12:30 p.m. with a gallon of homemade ice cream. Popular vote will determine the winners announced at 2:30 p.m. Divisions include best seasonal, best classic, and most creative flavor.
There are plenty of activities for the kids, as well. There are all sorts of free things for them to do from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Kids Zone on 1st Street NE between Clarksville and Lamar, sponsored by Main Street and Paris Garden Study Club. The first 300 to stop by the Lamar Avenue Stage get free treat bags.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there’s fishing in Culbertson Fountain. Children can get pony rides all day on the northwest corner of the Plaza, not to mention the petting zoo and camel rides on Clarksville Street. There will also be an extreme sports area on the northeast corner of the Plaza and North Main Street, with bungee jumping and an obstacle course and bounce house.
The festival may wrap up at 6 p.m, but the fun doesn’t stop there. It just shifts to Bywaters Park at 7:30 p.m. for a free concert featuring Charlie Robison and opening act Uncle Lucius.
For additional information, visit www.festivalofpumpkins.com, and be sure to watch eParis Extra! this weekend for more!