It started off just fine.
Friday was bright and sunny, if a bit cool. It seemed like perfect weather for a frightful festival in Washington Park.
Indeed, the first day of Halloween in the Village went swimmingly. Shrieks eminated from the haunted house while children tossed pumpkins nearby. Undeterred by the drizzle and chilly temperatures, Liverpool residents came out in force to enjoy the first night of the spooky celebration.
Sadly, the first night was also the last. Saturday dawned (if you can call it that) dark and rainy. The rain refused to let up, forcing festival organizer Mike Bearup to call off the day's events.
Washington Park was about 85 percent under water, Bearup said. At first we just cancelled the parade [which was to have taken place at 10 a.m.] and planned to go from there. But by 11 or so, we saw we weren't going to be able to do anything.
Bearup had hoped to reschedule the contests and games for the following Saturday in the same location. However, he was foiled once again by the weather.
The wind shredded all the tents, he said. I got a call at 4 o'clock Sunday morning that the haunted tent was laying across two lanes of Route 57.
Bearup did not have property insurance for the tents. I had enough money to cover it, he said, so it's not like I'm in the hole. But you never want to lose that much money.
But the money, he said, wasn't the worst part.
The biggest disappointment was for all the kids that planned on coming, he said. We've been working on this since last summer. There was such a buildup It definitely let the air out of my tires a little bit.
But Bearup can see the silver lining.
Friday was great, he said. We got everything up and running and we got a good turnout.
Bearup is also undeterred; not only is he ready to do another Halloween festival next year, he's planning a Christmas event, as well.
I'm going to try to put together a carnival or something for Christmas, either at Johnson Park or pay to go to Long Branch Park, he said. I'm not sure what it will look like yet, but I want to do something that kids can come to and have fun for Christmas.