With the Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade only a week away, we asked Kevin Kidney, a Disney artist and float designer for the parade, some questions about the festivities!
What is special about this parade/festival and why is it important to the community?
The Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade is the longest running Halloween party this side of the Mississippi. It began nearly a hundred years ago, when Anaheim was just a tranquil little farming community, and it has since become a family tradition. The Travel Channel just listed Anaheim among 2017’s top ten best Halloween celebrations in the country.
All the fun will take place on Saturday, October 28th. Our downtown is magically transformed into an old-fashioned autumn carnival, complete with pumpkin patch, Halloween-themed games, costume contests (one contest for people and one for dogs), live music, marionette shows, and an array of delicious things to eat. Our famous Anaheim Halloween Parade, since 1924, is a nighttime pageant of ghosts, goblins, jack-o’-lanterns, and witches stretching a mile and a half through Anaheim’s darkened downtown. For one exuberant October night each year, the most populated city in Orange County takes on the atmosphere of a small town.
The Parade and the Festival are sponsored each year by Anaheim businesses, schools, organizations, and residents. Even Disneyland has an entry in the parade, with a surprise appearance by one of the beloved Disney characters.
What’s your favorite float that you have ever created for the festival and why?
I love the camaraderie of working on something with a bunch of neighbors who are all volunteering for the fun of it. Floats like our giant “Andy Anaheim” toy that leads the parade
each year, was created by many hands and talents and is something we’re all very proud of. My favorite things in the parade are the comical trees with faces. I built their expressions out of cardboard which we then painted to look like a fun-house version of tree bark. I also really love the Anaheim Brewery’s float, designed by Jody Daily. It’s a mechanical man celebrating Oktoberfest by hoisting a beer mug and burping bubbles into the air. You have to see it to believe it.
What should first-time attendees be sure to do or see at the festival?
This year’s Festival will be the best yet. Puppeteers from the Bob Baker Marionette Theater will perform, Southern California artists —like Rhode Montijo— will show and sell their work, music by local talent (and new Mouseketeer) Sean Oliu, the ever-hilarious Doggy Costume Contest—and most of all, do not miss the incredible gravity-defying antics of the Turkish ice cream vendor! You’ll be amazed.
Anything else we should know?
The Anaheim Fall Festival happens on Center Street in Downtown Anaheim on Saturday October 28th, from 11am to 5pm. Then stay for the Anaheim Halloween Parade, which steps of at 6pm at West Street and Broadway.
The parade runs on Broadway toward downtown, ending at the Anaheim Packing District. You can view the parade from anywhere along the parade route!