NORWAY — It’s the candy, said many of the hundreds of children when asked why they participated in the annual Halloween Festival along Main Street on Friday afternoon.

Children and adults in costumes including the Cat in the Hat, witches and goblins turned out to visit more than 50 downtown businesses participating in the event.

“I think we may have a new record,” said Recreation Director Deb Partridge of the hundreds of people roaming the street in the first hour of the three-hour event. Last year’s event drew more than 1,000 participants. “The numbers are way up,” she added.

One hundred and eighty-five people were waiting at 2 p.m. when the Norway Memorial Library opened to provide maps of the participating businesses giving candy and other information on activities.

Asked what the best part of the day was, Evan Poliquin, 5, of Norway, said, “Eating candy.”

Others, such as 8-year-old Willow Nobles dressed as a witch, said her favorite “business” was the Norway Memorial Library because it provided maps to show her where to find more candy.

Children started their tour by picking up a trick-or-treat and activity map at the library, which was filled with activities including crafts, a witch’s brew and goblin treats, scary stories. dancing and music.

Activities abounded on Main Street. Children were able to be in a horror movie at the local cable station, decorate pumpkins and haunted houses at the Matolcsy Art Center, enter a costume contest and have a picture taken at the Sun Journal, Advertiser-Democrat offices and see a puppet petting zoo at Witherall Park, among many other activities.

The Fire Department had popcorn and its smoke trailer was set up for tours, despite firefighters’ brief departure for what turned out to be a false alarm at the Rowe Elementary School on Main Street.

Characters such as Smokey the Bear, Baxter, Newbie, Mr. Pizza, Cat In The Hat, Samantha the Skunk, Oakie and more were roaming Main Street greeting children.

The Norway Halloween Festival is sponsored by Norway Downtown, Norway Recreation Department, Norway Memorial Library, Healthy Oxford Hills and Main Street Businesses with the help and participation of many other individuals and organizations.

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