They are going for a million.
The second annual Trunk and Treat event is planned for Halloween night, Oct. 31, at New Midland Plaza and organizers preparing for the event are hoping to collect one million pieces of candy to give away to little ghosts and goblins looking for “loot.”
Wil Davenport, children’s pastor with Fairview United Methodist Church, said organizers have one goal.
“Our hope is to create a place where families can go on Oct. 31 for Halloween where they and their whole families have a fun time, feel safe, the kids get tons of candy, there’s free food and there’s no cost at all,” he said. “They’re going to come and have fun.”
The 2008 Trunk and Treat event drew a better than expected crowd.
“Last year when we planned this, we hoped for 2,000 people and 5,000-plus came,” he said. “If the weather is good, we believe that 7,000 is not an unrealistic number of folks to anticipate.”
In 2008, organizers set a goal of collecting 100,000 pieces of candy or toys to hand out, and it wasn’t enough. “All of that candy and toys were gone after 45 minutes,” Davenport said. “This year our plan is to collect 1 million pieces of candy or toys to hand out.”
Davenport said the team putting the event together spans the community.
“Folks helping this come from throughout Blount County. The idea is, this is a need families have. They’re looking for a safe place families can go where they know there’s no danger to kids, and they can have fun,” he said.
There will be live music and inflatables for children to play on throughout the night. “We don’t want you to just come and get candy and go home,” Davenport said. “We want this to be a destination. Get candy, get dinner, play games and then go home.”
The minister said that organizers knew when the event ended last year they wanted to do this gain.
“The day it ended last year, we started planning for this year. We got together in November and spent about three hours talking about how to improve it.”
Several service-based organizations are helping organize the event, including Fairview United Methodist Church, Monte Vista Baptist Church, Beech Grove Baptist Church, Sycamore United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church Maryville and New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center. Several other local churches will help on the night of the event.
“It’s exciting to see that many folks coming together to do one thing. The only other event I know like it is the Foothills Fall Festival. Outside of a football game, I don’t know of anything that will have 5,000 to 7,000 folks attending at the same time,” he said. “It’s exciting to see that many folks in the community together. It was fun to just walk around and see people enjoying themselves.”
Davenport said anyone who visited New Midland Plaza during the 2008 Trunk or Treat should enjoy the 2009 event. “If you came last year, expect your experience to be even better this year,” he said.
For information or to donate candy/toys for the event, call Davenport at 865-983-2080.