LUMBERTON — A line stretched the length of Northeast Park as thousands of kids came out to have fun and munch on candy on Halloween night at the Candy Fest hosted by the Lumberton Recreation Department and Vertical Church.
This year’s Candy Fest had 25 trunks decorated with different themes, including a Harry Potter trunk, a Pacman trunk and a pirate ship trunk complete with a plank for trunk-or-treaters to walk to reach the candy. Kriston Jacobs, special events coordinator for the city of Lumberton, said that most the cars came from members of the Vertical Church.
Hector Miray, the lead pastor of Vertical Church, got a sweet compliment.
“Hector has been reminding his church the whole month about this event,” Jacobs said. “Vertical Church is very supportive of the community.”
While each volunteer brought their own candy, the city of Lumberton provided more than $2,000 worth of every dentist’s nightmare.
So why does the event draw so much attention to Lumberton residents?
“I think it’s a safer alternative — a more safe environment,” Jacobs said. “Instead of knocking on 10 doors they can just come here and get a bucket full candy.”
Parent Isabel Jones, of Lumberton, agreed as her sons, 4-year-old Bryson Jones and 7-year-old Braydon Jones, headed to the inflatables.
“It’s safer and there’s more activities,” she said.
While some were looking for a safer environment, Deanna Locklear was just looking for a change.
“We usually go to our church or to bigger neighborhoods but this year we wanted to try something different,” Locklear said. “It was a different experience. I had never been to anything like this at a park before. I enjoyed myself and the kids did too.”
“I got bubble gum, Twix and Sneakers,” Locklear’s daughter Hailey Brooks said.
Hailey said that her favorite thing at the fest were the bouncy houses.
After waiting in long line for candy, funnel cakes and snow cones, competitions and inflatables awaited the crowd. The night had more than 20 cake walks and each winner received cupcakes.
Periodically throughout the night, Miray distributed prizes for best costume. First place received a $10 gift card to Chick-fil-A while second and third received a $5 but the biggest winners of the night was Jessica Hammonds and her family who won the group costume contest, taking home a $50 gift card.
Hammonds and her cousin dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and her kids dressed as the wolf and grandma.
“The boys had been saying all year that they wanted to be werewolves,” said Eudora Hunt, Hammonds’ cousin, who came up with idea.
This is Hammonds’ first time going to the Candy Fest and she said she heard about it through Facebook.
“I liked it. There was a lot for the kids to do,” she said.
“And they got to burn off all that energy,” Hunt said.
Energy that will be replaced when all the candy is gone.
Reach Tomeka Sinclair at 910-416-5865.