Sunday, July 1, 2012

Halloween In July

It's that time of year again!  Riverfest Time!  Oh, Riverfest.  Anoka, MN's annual cramming of the craft booths, food trucks and legions of sweaty people into a roughly three block radius of the downtown area for a Saturday in July!  It sounds kind of unpleasant, and at times it is, but it's mostly a good eatin' time that usually results in sunburn and homemade handbags you really didn't want but didn't want to leave Riverfest empty-handed.  I NEVER leave Riverfest empty handed.  You know why?  Because Riverfest is the first time during the year the latest Anoka Halloween merchandise is for sale!  Woot!  Woot!

Anoka is the self-proclaimed Halloween Capital of the World and my love for Anoka is deep and endless.  Remember when I wrote about how I loved seeing small towns portrayed in movies and on television?  Anoka is the quintessential small-town like you see in those movies and TV shows, except with all the warts and ickyness that comes with anywhere actual human beings live.  Anoka falls into the trappings of occasional small-mindedness, some overzealous religions organizations, a nasty bullying problem in our middle school, small-town bullshit politics, and having a large part to do with Michele Bachmann being elected to public office.  These are the things that make my storybook town less-than-perfect, but nowhere is perfect.  In the last five years I have spent working in downtown Anoka and the last nearly three years I've spent living in Anoka (not to mention my nearly weekly trips to the town as a child) I've learned that the good people outnumber the bad people enormously.  It's just that the bad people are louder and more annoying, and their actions have a negative affect on all of us.  But, I digress.  Let's talk Halloween!

Every year there is a annual Button Design Contest (can't you see this cutthroat competition already being played out in some terrible made-for-TV movie?)  Citizens submit their designs to the Halloween Committee (real thing) and one is selected to be the logo for the year's festivities, you know, all three damn parades.  And shirts, buttons, coffee mugs, stickers, whatever else you can slap a logo on to.  Here are a few from years past:

This is last years, one of my personal favorites since the maroon and white is a play on Anoka High Schools colors.  And the bat, of course.

 2010's.  This was the logo the year I was pregnant.  When I bought my shirt at Riverfest in July of 2010 I was five months pregnant.  Having foresight, I bought a XXL.  By the time I wore it last, Halloween of 2010, I was nine months pregnant and that pumpkin in the "90" no longer had a smile on his face.


2009's is also very cute.  The clock the ghost is hugging actually sits in the middle of Main Street at First Avenue coming into Anoka from the west.  Speaking of Anoka's Ghosts, I have a funny story for you:  Keeping the small-town politics that go into this to a minimum....Main Street is getting a complete overhaul this summer.  The sidewalks are being widen, pavers are going into the crosswalks, all sorts of fancy things.  Well, a few local shopkeepers in town are being Negative Nellies and bitched to the Star Tribune about it.  In turn, the Star Trib published this whole article about how merchants in Downtown Anoka are feeling like they are in "exile" and the city is slapping them in the face, blah, blah, blah.  Keep in mind, the people who complained where the guy who owns the crappy tattoo shop (there is a good tattoo shop and a crappy tattoo shop in Anoka) and this woman who opened a shop in the basement of where the tattoo shop is located selling things she bought at garage sales....pillars of the community, as you can see.  Well, my boss Mary, who owns the very successful and very long-standing, kick-ass reputation-ed Party Papers was very annoyed with this article and she and a few other people from the RDA committee (Rediscover Downtown Anoka, we love our committees in this town) composed a Letter to the Editor to the Star Tribune taking them to task for publishing such a negative article and how the Main Street Make-Over is going to do nothing but good thing for the town and the streets are already more beautiful so on and so forth, and then wondered why the writer of the article was skewing this in such a bad light, why didn't they send a different reporter, namely the woman who recently did a story on the town's Historical Society-backed Ghosts of Anoka Tours.  The letter asked "Why didn't you send (Other Reporter's Name) she is a very talented writer and covered our ghosts so well."  As I read this line of the letter I couldn't help but giggle.  All I could imagine was some sort of Ghost Gossip Column,  Or that all the ghosts in Anoka (there a ton! Limestone under our streets and all that...) get together for a meeting on a monthly basis to discuss how they were portrayed in the media this month, "Oh, dear!  Did you see what was written about us in the Star Tribune this week!  How positively delightful!"  And all the ghosts of Anoka also wear monocles and have put-on British accents in my head....

End of story.  

So, anyways, this year's design!  I think it is darling, here it is:

   Sure, the Jack-O-Lantern has been done to death, but it's hard to keep these things fresh after 90 some years!  Well, I'm sure they weren't printing shirts and buttons to sell back in 1920, but you know what I mean.  The tree though, I do like that spooky tree.  

My only problem is, I'm not even going to be in town for Riverfest this year!  It falls on the weekend I am going to The Palmer House in Sauke Centre!  I guess I will just have to line-up with the rest of the Halloween enthusiasts and get my Halloween Anoka gear from one of Downtown Anoka's fabulous merchants (Party Papers, Party Papers, Party Papers, Party Papers) or failing that the SuperValue owned Cub Foods one town over does Anoka a solid and also sells them.  I have options, people, it's going to be okay.  

Ha!  They were making these buttons back in 1950 though!  Look at this!

Here is one from 1965!

Dear God, some wonderful human being is sell these all on Etsy!  Wow! 1991!  Snowstorm!

Okay, I will stop now.  But it may be my life's work to now collect each and every one of these buttons....

Also, I guess the Anoka Halloween Celebrations are more than just three parades.  

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