Children dressed in costumes filled the streets of downtown O’Fallon on Saturday for the Rotary clubs’ annual Halloween parade.
This year’s parade was “the biggest ever,” according to parade chairman Jay Taddei. “I think it’s really grown in popularity,” he said. “It’s become an event that’s really fun.”
Between 300 and 325 children participated in the costume contest portion of the event.
This was the fourth year the Rotary clubs hosted the parade. Originally, the Rotary Club held a parade in the summer, but participation had dropped over the years so it was moved to close to Halloween.
“It made a huge difference,” Taddei said about participation in the parade. “It’s been getting considerably stronger every year.”
Taddei also credited social media sites like Facebook with getting the word out about the Halloween parade.
“I think the Facebook page did truly help,” he said.
After the children paraded through the streets downtown, the winners of the costume contest were announced with winners in each of the seven categories. Miss O’Fallon Madeleine Henken chose the grand prize winners.
Area merchants handed out candy and other treats to children following the parade.
“The merchants are really thankful, because people are coming into their stores,” Taddei said. “It’s giving them some exposure. A lot of people forget about downtown O’Fallon.”
The grand prize winner will get free pizza every month for an entire year courtesy of Gia’s Pizza in downtown O’Fallon.
“We try to be as involved in the community as we can,” said Brandon Burris, general manager at Gia’s Pizza.
The annual Halloween costume parade is sponsored by the Sunrise, Noon, and Sunset Rotary clubs in O’Fallon.