The Benton Public Square will be surrounded by kids of all ages this Saturday, Oct. 28 for the second-annual Benton Fall Fest.
In addition to kids getting the opportunity to fill their Halloween sacks with candy, there will be several other activities to participate in while enjoying refreshments from vendor booths.
"This is truly a community-wide event. The level of participation from businesses and organizations we've received, across the board, has been really impressive and inspiring. I'm proud of what we (the committee) have come up with for this festival, and it should be a really fun and safe event for the kids in town. I hope this helps encourage hometown pride and traditions built around family friendly community events," said Rachel Gartner, the city's public information coordinator.
Hours of the trunk or treat are from 4 to 8 p.m. around the square. Other trunk or treat locations will be held at the Benton Fire Department from 4 to 8 p.m., First Christian Church from 5 to 8 p.m. and at the Sav-A-Lot parking lot from 4 p.m. until all the candy has been distributed. A candy balloon drop will also be held at 6 and 7 p.m. on the square, presented by the fire department.
A haunted hayride will be available starting at 4 p.m., dispatching from Pate Funeral Home to the park and back; and the movie "Hocus Pocus" will be shown at 8 p.m. at the city park.
Kids costume and pet costume contests will be held on the south side of the courthouse lawn, sponsored by Second Chance Rescue. The pets -- including dogs, cats, large and small animals -- will be judged at 4 p.m.; the kids (12 and under) will be judged in three age categories beginning at at 5 p.m.
R&J Tactical Lazer Tag will be available on the east side of the courthouse lawn from 4 to 8 p.m.; and night jail tours will be given at the Historic Jail Museum from dusk to midnight. There is a $5 admission charge to the museum.
"With a huge response from last year's event, we carried over a lot of the same activities," said Karen Mullins, a member of the Fall Fest committee. "The square is closed for our attendees' safety, so we're happy to work in coordination with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Benton Police Department."
Around 2,000 people attended last year's inaugural event, according to estimates provided by the committee.
"It was a huge response. We're looking forward to gorgeous weather and for the community to come out and support the various activities and events," Mullins said.
Photographs will be taken from 4 to 8 p.m. at Malkovich Park by members of the Garden Gate Garden Club; and by the Benton Rangler Girls from 4 to 8 p.m. on the south side of the courthouse lawn.
Hot cider is being provided from 4 p.m. until it is gone at Capitol Park; and the Benton Fire Department will conduct its barbecue fundraiser on the southeast side of the square starting at 4 p.m.