No Scare Fair helps HAVEN, Family Promise

Oct. 26, 2013 @ 07:12 PM

Handing their tickets to the Cat in the Hat and then going to get candy from witches, superheroes, football players and pumpkins, hundreds of people enjoyed Saturday's family-friendly Halloween extravaganza, No Scare Fair, at the Stevens Center.

Jessica Morrison, for example, was there with a ninja, cheerleader and soldier who were also her son, niece and nephew. She said that while the candy given out at about a dozen booths sponsored by local companies was definitely nice, the children liked the games and entertainment the most.

"They love to come out for the music," she said. "My son, he especially loves the chicken dance, getting up there on stage and doing that."

At the center stage, local dance and singing groups cycled on and off, sometimes inviting the audience to come up and join them. And in between the chicken dance or Michael Jackson's "Thriller," families visited different stations for face painting, temporary tattoos, glittery masks, games and food.

About 300-350 people came through every 90 minutes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., organizers said, each paying the $5 admission price which will benefit Willing Hands — a group which organizes this and other fundraisers throughout the year to benefit charities that help at-risk families in the community.

Proceeds from this 12th annual No Scare Fair will go to HAVEN (Helping Abuse and Violence End Now) and Family Promise of Lee County — groups which help domestic abuse victims and children and homeless families, respectively.

"Everybody's working really hard, and it shows" said Carol Carlson, who founded Willing Hands and also serves as chairperson of the HAVEN board of directors. Her husband Richard, a local accountant and the Cat in the Hat at the entrance, said halfway through the event Saturday that attendance might have been down slightly from last year, but with other outside donations it would be hard to say immediately how the fundraiser compared to years past.

But with hundreds of visitors creating a steady back-and-forth stream from booth to booth, it was an active crowd. Manning the various booths at the fair were a mix of adults and volunteers from local high schools, whose service clubs set up a competition to see which one could bring out the most helpers. One helper, Lee Early College sophomore Meredith Murphy, said she had never been to the No Scare Fair before but was having a good time.

"It's my first year, but it's fun," she said in between handing out boxes of Milk Duds, Nerds and other candy. "We've had a ton of people."

Further down the line from Murphy was a group of non-high-school volunteers, the McNeill family. Richard and Kristie McNeill had brought their three children to the event before, they said, as spectators. Like Murphy, they said this was their first year volunteering but that it had been a blast.

"They kids enjoy it," Kristie McNeill said. "And I like volunteering — seeing the kids in their costumes, so many kids, it's just great."