Halloween will come early to Downtown Washington with Pumpkin Palooza this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Main Street between Elm and Cedar.
The sixth annual event is put on jointly by the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Washington Inc.
“We have got some new surprises for the kids, as well as the many activities we have had in the past including Seed Spitting, Pumpkin Rolling, Babaloo, Story Time, Skeleton Hunt, Costume Judging, Candy Crawl,” said Mary Beth Rettke with the Chamber.
“We are looking forward to another wonderful, family-oriented event,” Rettke said.
A Pumpkin Palooza map can be picked up at the information booth Saturday near the Farmers’ Market, said Danielle Grotewiel with Downtown Washington Inc.
The market vendors will be open the entire time of the event.
As in the past, pumpkin growers can bring their pumpkins for the Giant Pumpkin Contest to be weighed at 10 a.m.
Pumpkins will be judged by weight.
The Giant Pumpkin Contest will pay out $200 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place.
The Prettiest Pumpkin, Ugliest Pumpkin and Ugliest Gourd contests are part of the lineup again this year.
Both the Prettiest and Ugliest Pumpkin contests will be judged on shape and color. These pumpkins must weigh at least 5 pounds and must not be altered in any way. There are no weight requirements on the Ugliest Gourds.
These three contests will each have only a first-place winner with a prize of $25.
Grotewiel said children and families can begin to line up for the costume contest at about 3 p.m on Main Street near the market.
“No sign-up is necessary and we will make an announcement during the event alerting everyone that it’s beginning,” she said.
Games and concessions are planned, and the downtown shops will be open all day.
As in the past, the merchants will sponsor a candy crawl and children can trick-or-treat at the different stores.
New this year will be the monkey bus, a converted school bus that has a ball pit, balance beam and cargo net inside. It will be parked on Main Street.
“We also will have a photo booth, hair and face painting,” Grotewiel said. “There will be lots of things to do for children of all ages.”
Some activities have sign-up fees, but admission to the event is free.
Nearly 400 people attended last year’s event and organizers are hopeful for good weather and another big turnout.