BOO IN the Park has blossomed into a rite of October.
The All-American Days Festival Committee spends countless hours, not to mention dollars, to put on a Halloween event second to none for youths. The Seventh Annual Boo in the Park Tuesday was nothing short of sensational, as some 600 children, who either reside in Bellaire or go to school in Bellaire, attended.
"It was a great success. There were 20 stations again this year," said chairwoman Lou Ann Bennett. "It has become much more than a Halloween event, it has become a family event. There were children there with their parents and grandparents."
She noted the historic park is a safe environment. Bennett said the youngsters can take in the puppet show, a magic show, watch the movies or take a ride on the hayride, made possible by the Alert Fire Department.
"There were at least 2,000 people in the park that night. We really appreciate all of the sponsors that contributed to Boo in the Park and the work crew that started at 10 that morning to convert the park into a Halloween wonderland with several new decorations this year," Bennett noted. "We also really appreciate The First United Methodist Church for its Trunk or Treat and free hotdogs. It just goes to show what we can achieve when everyone works together."
Bennett also noted The All-American Days Festival Committee is always looking for more volunteers to help with these children's activities. Anyone wishing to help should get in touch with Bennett, who also serves as the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce president.
SPEAKING of Halloween events, Martins Ferry needed to relocate its program from the city park to the recreation center Saturday afternoon. Despite the change, a huge turnout of costume-bedecked youngsters were treated.
Donating their time and expertise were a slew of city officials, including the police department. Sgt. Beth Scales was the chairperson for the event.
IF YOU are a high school football fan, today is a bittersweet day. Sadness is spawned by the end of the regular season, while some joy is spread knowing that we have several local teams involved in the post-season party.
Our congratulations go out to Shadyside, St. Clairsville, Bellaire and Harrison Central for extending their seasons. The Tigers of Mark Holenka and Red Devils of Brett McLean deserve extra kudos for their unblemished marks.
Jose Davis has weaved magic with the Big Reds, going 8-2, a mark very few Big Reds' diehards thought possible back in August. Justin Kropka has transformed the once-moribund Huskies program into well-respected entity.
Speaking of Davis and the Big Reds, Friday night's SPARKY battle with arch-rival Martins Ferry was the most exciting I have ever witnessed in the storied series. Bellaire quarterback Spencer Badia is a special playmaker, especially in crunch situations.
Martins Ferry, meanwhile, acquitted itself very impressively despite missing a host of key players. Dave Bruney will welcome back a bevy of sophomore starters, including running back-defense end Jahad Joyce. The 190-pounder made his varsity debut Friday night an impressive one, rushing 30 times for 153 stripes.
Bellaire's grid success this fall could not come at a better time for the school district. With another levy request on the Nov. 6 ballot, the feel-good atmosphere the Big Reds are generating in the community can only help at the polls. A similar scenario played out in the 1990s when Bridgeport schools were struggling to pass a levy, but rode the wave of football success by Rick Goodrich's Bulldogs to gain passage of the money request.
FORMER TIMES Leader sports writer Robin Yocum has authored yet another book. The Brilliant native and Buckeye North graduate has just released "The Essay A Novel."
The Arcade Publishing work is a shocking story of how "dirty neck" Jimmy Lee Hickman's unexpected talent infuriates parents, baffles administration and opens doors for him. Jimmy Lee is the boy who is never invited to classmates' parties and whose presence at the park warrants the end of playtime for neighborhood children. He comes from a family of thieves and creates a tidal wave of protests from families and administration after after winning a writing contest.
After leaving the Times Leader in 1979, Yocum matriculated to Columbus and scripted a award-winning career as a crime and investigative reporter from 1980-1991, earning 30 journalistic awards. A previous novel, "Favorite Sons" also captured numerous awards.
Robin was also a standout placekicker for Buckeye North and Bowling Green.
JOHN MAGISTRO, of St. John Central and Bellaire High fame, ended another successful campaign as Westerville Central head coach. Although his Warhawks finished one spot out of the Division I, Region 3 playoff field, Westerville Central defeated Dublin Jerome, 24-21, in Friday's finale. The Warhawks ended with a sparkling 7-3 mark.
THE FOREST Hills Community Association in West Bellaire will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the former community center.
At that time, the association will announce its scholarship dispersal plans for Bellaire and St. John Central high schools. The meeting commences at 7 p.m.
MARTINS FERRY'S Paul Riethmiller is in line for kudos. The high-energy Purple City mayor donated his entire day last Saturday to help out wherever needed at the OVAC?Bandfest.
NOT ONLY is the SPARKY series between Bellaire and Martins Ferry a tremendous rivalry on the playing field, it yields goodwill off of it, as reflected in the SPARKY Challenge. The Bellaire Alumni Association captured the annual fund-raising challenge with the Martins Ferry Alumni. The former Big Reds raised $5,575 this season that will be donated to the Bellaire School District. The Purple Riders raised $1,577 which will go to the Martins Ferry Public Library.
I WATCHED the entire Sherrod Brown-Josh Mandel U.S. Senate debate Thursday night. The most impressive figure that night was NBC political director Chuck Todd, who moderated the event. Between the two debaters, Brown was the clear winner.
Kapral may be reached at email@example.com