What a difference a year makes! With Mother Nature’s help and lots of preHalloween fun things to do, this year’s Open Streets Emory Village on October 28 was a rousing success. Blue skies and plenty of sunshine attracted crowds of princesses, soldiers, ghosts and ghouls; one estimate put the crowd at more than 2,000.
Several new events made a big impression on Open Streets fans, so expect to see them again next year. Crowds of all ages watched the multiple tracks set up by the Piedmont Division of the National Model Railroad Association. Everybody had an opportunity to drive a train or grab a lollipop from a box car.
Thanks to the environmentalists from the South Fork Conservancy, many more people now realize there is a creek beside the parking lot at Panera Bread Company. Children (and adults) cheered as bright yellow rubber ducks raced down the creek toward the North Decatur Road finish line manned by Georgia Representative-Elect Becky Evans. The first three finishers, marked with numbers tying them to sponsors, received prizes.
The Georgia Bubble Man delighted children of all ages as he released his multiple-sized bubbles into the streets, creating a festive atmosphere enjoyed by all. Some drifted high into the sky before disappearing with a pop, while others encountered more immediate threats, like children’s fingers or signposts.
Several restaurants brought their food outside to the streets so neighbors could taste their wares. The climbing wall, always a huge hit, had a run on young women climbing the hard way – in skirts.
As usual, Glenn United Memorial Methodist Church’s Trunk or Treat was a huge hit. Trunks included the Eyrich family farm, a pirate ship (requiring treat seekers to walk the plank), and an authentic German Root Bier Garten serving root beer and pretzels.
Volunteers from Druid Hills High School spread through the streets, painting children’s faces, helping carve pumpkins, and generally making everyone happy. One of the more creative carved pumpkins featured the spire of Glenn Memorial Church.
Always popular, neighborhood dogs competed for several prizes, including best costume and best-in-show. Celebrity judges—DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader, State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and State Senator Elena Parent — doggedly assessed the fierce competition. There was Darth Vader, a chicken, ghosts, skeletons, a hot dog, a firedog, a pirate, and many others. Penelope, the pearl-adorned pig, watched events from her pen as her mom, Sarah-Reilly Murphy, hawked her homemade animal toys, which also served as prizes for the contests.
And what’s an event without music, celebrating neighborhood and intown talent, and the daring, flexible performers of the OPA Imperial Circus? The Center for Puppetry Arts Puppet Factory, a crowd favorite, again mesmerized the little ones.
Once again, Emory Village Alliance thanks its sponsors, especially DeKalb County and the Druid Hills Civic Association. Come visit the shops and restaurants of the village soon!
—By Sarah Banick. Photos by Lisa Hill