published Friday, October 28th, 2011

Cleveland Block Party

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Downtown takes on a haunted look Monday with the annual Halloween Block Party's 24th edition.

City government offices will close Monday at 4 p.m. as downtown gets ready for the party. City employees will work through their lunch hour to make up the time.

Organized by MainStreet Cleveland, the party begins at 5 p.m.

Mars Chocolate North America sponsors Treat Street, which is open from 6 to 9 p.m.

"Treat Street is the highlight for thousands of area children," said Sharon Marr, MainStreet Cleveland executive director. "Mars Chocolate donates thousands of dollars in candy and countless volunteer hours."

Treat Street is on Church Street in front of the Police Services Center.

The Block Party venue this year includes Church, Ocoee, Broad, First and Second streets. Back by popular demand from a 2009 appearance is Nashville Motown band Entice. They'll perform on the Main Stage at the courthouse plaza at 8 p.m., following performances at 5 p.m. by the Chilhowee Dance and Performing Arts Studio and at 7 p.m. by the Ridge Farm Band. On the Fun Stage, at the Post Office Annex, there will be a costume contest for all ages at 5 p.m., followed by karaoke with Detour DJ.

Over its two dozen years, the Block Party has averaged more than 20,000 people, according to MainStreet organizers.

"It has become a great downtown tradition," said Brenda Sheehy, MainStreet Cleveland board president.

The DARE midway, on Broad Street, is sponsored by the Cleveland Police Department and the Bradley County Sheriff's Department. The midway is filled with inflatable toys for kids.

Vendors selling a variety of foods, and local businesses and nonprofit groups round out the party.

Marr said dozens of local businesses and organizations support the block party with funds and in-kind services.

And when the party is over, Keep America Beautiful volunteers and Courts Community Service put the downtown area back in order.

"Tuesday morning, it's like nothing happened," Marr said.

Nearby ...

Meanwhile, on Inman Street, the Museum Center at Five Points has its own spooky schedule.

On Sunday at 4 p.m. the museum hosts a pumpkin master-carving class. The cost is $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers. RSVP today at 423-339-5745.

Entries in the jack-o'-lantern contest should be brought to the museum center 2-4 p.m. Sunday or 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday, said Lisa Lutts Simpson, executive director. The jack-o'-lanterns will be on display Monday during the Tall Betsy Storytelling Night. Family-friendly Halloween stories will be told by costumed members of the Cleveland Storytelling Guild.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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