Giant puppetry, bizarre pageantry, zombies, music, dance, theater, and the extravagantly costumed will fill West Washington Street. Children, seniors and local organizations will be seen dancing down the road. It’s spooky meets carnival at the Marquette Halloween Spectacle.
The spectacle will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday ,Oct. 29 on the 100 Block of West Washington Street. If it rains, it will be held the following day.
“Some people have called it ‘Cirque du Soleil Yooper style,’” said City of Marquette Arts and Culture Manager Tiina Harris.
This is the fifth year the city and the Marquette Downtown Development Authority will produce the annual Halloween Spectacle, but this one will include some new twists.
This year the spectacle will take on new grounds as the 100 Block of West Washington Street will be completely closed off to allow performers and spectacle goers of all ages to be able to immerse themselves within the show, Harris said.
“For those who have been to the spectacle, the format is a bit more like a street festival, like a giant community costume party with pop-up theater performances. So instead of the crowd sitting in a fixed position and watching, the crowd is actually moving around performers and taking in what they want and it is a lot longer,” Harris said. “You can come for five minutes and walk through or you can stay for the whole two hours.”
In previous years the festival was only one hour. The longer run time allows for the Spectacle to hold an opening ceremony at 6 p.m. and a closing ceremony at 7:45 p.m. The closing ceremony will involve fire, but no more can be revealed, Harris said.
“Throughout history there has always been these sort of public pageants, so this is our public pageant that’s unique to Marquette,” Harris said. “It has its own flavor because it’s the community that puts it on… It’s meant to be this awe-inspiring visual experience.”
With over 100 performers, this year’s performance will include local groups like the NMU Hip-hop Dance Crew, folk dancers, belly dancers, a barbershop quartet, the Yoop Hoopers hula hoop group, a flashmob and more. The spectacle will also have a children’s activity center and a magical illuminated fairy garden for the first time, Harris said.
Businesses on Washington Street have communicated with the spectacle to offer specialty drinks, window scenarios and dancers, as well as free baked goods and cider.
“Things like this are important because they become community traditions and they make our place distinct and bring people together,” Harris said.
The goal of the spectacle and the Arts and Culture Center is to make the area more interesting and to support the creative economy of Marquette, Harris said.
“What do people remember in hundreds of years when looking back at history? You remember arts and culture,” she said. “When we’re looking back at ancient civilizations, we don’t look at how nice their roads were, we look at the beautiful sculptures they made… Those are things people remember because it’s expressing who you are.”
While the call for performers has passed, Harris encourages all to come in costume. The spectacle is also looking for volunteers to come out early Saturday morning to help hang cobwebs, set up the fairy garden and to decorate the street for the event.
“When you go, you won’t be sorry you went. It’s an experience. It’s a moment and there’s just no words to describe those types of experiences,” Harris said. “You just have to come down and be in it and be open to it.”