The annual Halloween celebration on the Lebanon Square brought out lots of characters and provided local children with a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating.
The chilly weather didn't deter revelers as the line around the Square began to form long before dusk and continued to grow well into the evening. Ghouls, monsters, princesses, cowboys and super heroes lined up for games, music and trick-or-treating. All of this was courtesy of businesses, churches, civic organizations and local law enforcement agencies that worked with the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce to create a safe and fun environment for kids to enjoy Halloween without the dangers of walking down dark streets with little or no adult supervision.
The inflatable bouncing house and slide were both hits, and food and beverages were free. As always, the Lebanon Department of Public Safety cooked hot dogs for hours for the hungry haunters. The Wilson County Sheriff's Department was one of the first on the scene, providing free drinks, candy and games for the children as the line around the square began to form.
Chamber President Sue Vanatta, who was dressed as "Thing One" from the Dr. Seuss story, was busy keeping the huge event on track. She was pleased with how it turned out as well.
"They started lining up at 4:15 p.m.," she said.
Maggie Julian and Rick Smith, dressed as Waldo and The Cat in Hat, respectively, were handing out candy from the chamber office. Meanwhile, people in line for hot dogs got free candy from J.D. Foster with the Lebanon Firefighters Association.
The band from Cross Style Church, Morgan and the Free Men, had the crowd rocking, and when they took a break the sound system played Halloween classics such as "Flying Purple People Eater" to the delight of the crowd.
The evening culminated with the third annual Neddy Jacobs Coffin Race. Six teams competed in the hotly contested race marked by hot rod coffins and considerable trash talk. Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead and Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto both had teams competing with Stewart Knowles Construction, The Lazarus Project and the Wilson County School District.
It was evident by the huge turnout, the well-behaved crowd and the tired but smiling children, that Halloween on the Square was a hit. There are sure to be happy faces and full tummies for the costumed monsters who came out for the event.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.