Thousands descended on Bell and Main streets Saturday for the annual Boo on Bell event in Shawnee.
Though no official attendance numbers were available, Boo on Bell Chairman Norman Wagner said he thought there were around 20,000 people that took advantage of the day’s events.
“This is truly the largest Boo on Bell we’ve ever had,” Wagner said. “You couldn’t even see where the lines begin or end on Main Street.”
Wagner said that since there were so many children out to trick or treat during the afternoon festivities, the city ordered Main Street closed.
At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Wagner said the event’s organizers had already given away two tons of candy.
Cody Briggs of Sparks and her children Denton Berry, 8, and Paisley Berry, 6, were among the throng that crowded Main Street to trick or treat.
“We did the inflatables, there’s supposed to be games and we saw the horse rides, so we definitely want to go on that,” Briggs said. “Someone brought us a few years ago, but they didn’t have nearly this much stuff.”
Brian Olds came from Midwest City with his fiancé Tammi and daughters, Azaria, 8, and Alexis, 5.
“We saw it online, so we thought we’d check it out and come have fun,” Olds said. “We were looking forward to the hayrides, the music; we were trying to make the costume contest but we missed it.”
Merchants downtown passed out candy and opened their doors for business.
“We have been incredibly busy today,” Jessie Compton of Coney Island said with a laugh.
Coney Island has taken part in each Boo on Bell since it opened in 2006.
“There’s no comparison” to the business Coney Island does during Boo on Bell to other days of the year, Compton said, “but we haven’t been as busy [at 4 p.m] this year as last year.”
“The day’s not over, though,” she added.
Many vendors came from all over the state to sell their wares at Boo on Bell, including Larry Crawford of Sand Springs.
Crawford’s Staybright Tie-Dyes travels around the state, selling T-shirts at festivals. He said he has set up a booth at Boo on Bell for the last two years.
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“We come to a lot of these festivals on the weekends. Last week we were in Arkansas, and before that we were in Missouri,” Crawford said. “This [Boo on Bell] was a lot of fun last year, so we figured we’d come back.”
Many feared a cold weather forecast for Saturday, but the weather turned out to be a nonfactor as the sun warmed Shawnee all day.
“We had turtlenecks in the car, but it turned out to be a really nice day,” Briggs said.
“We were expecting it to be a little chilly today,” Olds said, but when asked if that would have deterred his family from attending, he replied very quickly, “Nope!”