Fall-O-Ween Festival in Copperas Cove draws estimated 7,000
By BRITTANY FHOLER
On Saturday afternoon, goblins, ghouls, witches, wizards, superheroes and countless inflatable dinosaurs took over the Copperas Cove City Park for the annual Fall-O-Ween Festival.
The festival was hosted by Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation Department Special Events from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and featured family friendly activities such as a petting zoo, bounce houses, various kids’ games, a trick or treat line, market vendors and food trucks, as well as different photo opportunities.
Special Events Coordinator Ashley Wilson said she was pleased with the turnout for this year’s event and estimated that more than 7,000 people had shown up to the event.
“We extended the time. In the past we’ve done 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., so we extended it from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., so I think doing that actually helps alleviate some of the traffic hopefully, but it’s really great to actually add an hour in, just because that gives some of the people that come a little bit later, they do get that extra time to do things,” Wilson said.
There was also a costume contest that kicked off at 6 p.m., and a haunted house held in partnership with Copperas Cove Junior High School, benefitting the Copperas Cove Junior High School theater students.
Wilson said she loved seeing the kids dress up each year.
“I love the kids in costumes,” Wilson said. “I love seeing their faces. I love just seeing all the different kinds of costumes that come out and just seeing the kids’ faces in general. This is probably one of my favorite events. It’s an extra day for the kids to wear their costumes, and I know the parents might like that too, because you spend money on a costume, and they only wear it one time. This kind of gives the opportunity for them to wear it multiple times.”
Elizabeth Klingler attended the festival with her husband, Brendan, and their sons and her mother.
The family dressed as characters from the Mario video game, with her sons dressed as Mario and Bowser, her husband as Luigi and herself as Princess Peach.
This year marked their first time attending the Fall-O-Ween Festival.
“It’s great,” Klingler said. “It’s just a fun family event.”
Klingler said she liked that Copperas Cove offered this as a safe alternative to trick or treating.
“I think it’s super fun, and as a mom, it gives me more comfort that we can do it together, and I don’t have to worry about [youngest son] running all over the place,” Klingler said.
Brendan added that he appreciated the family getting to see the fire trucks and police vehicles and other organizations in the community.
Located in the lineup of candy vendors was the CCHS HOSA Chapter, under the advisement of Health Science teachers Jeni Carbone-Williams and Morgan Camese. The Health Science Students at Copperas Cove High School collected and donated the approximately 400 pounds of candy, equating to around $1,200 worth, according to Carbone-Williams. The group ended up having enough candy to help out their fellow candy vendors who ran out during Saturday’s trick or treat line at the Fall-O-Ween Festival.
Saturday’s Fall-O-Ween Festival served as an opportunity for earning community service hours, with many Health Science students serving at different city affiliated booths throughout the festival, according to Camese.
The HOSA chapter also featured a blood drop costume to help promote the chapter’s upcoming blood drives.
“We are the top high school 6A division in the state of Texas for blood donors,” said Carbone-Williams. “We’ve added two new mobile drives during the Krist Kindl Markt weekend.”
Krist Kindl Markt is held the first weekend in December.
Carbone-Williams said that having the students interact with public as volunteers helps build the important communication skills.
“Building them [up] soft skills is very important, especially with employability, so we try to get them out here to talk to people and talk to kids,” Carbone-Williams said. “A lot of these kids want to be pediatricians and work with children, so it’s fulfilling to us to see them being able to communicate so effortlessly with the public.”
The 40 candy vendors included local organizations such as the Copperas Cove Police Department, the Copperas Cove Fire Department, Crawford Bowers Funeral Home, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Ace Dental, CVMA, T-Mobile Killeen, RD Guns, Chick-fil-A, Expo Home Improvement, Strictly Insane Mechanics, Seale Financial Services, Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, CC Colts Football and Cheer, Navy Federal Credit Union, Copperas Cove Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, Jno G. Lewis Lodge #622, Air Heads HVAC, Five Hills 4H, FC Iron Dojo, Copper Oak Real Estate, Citizens Fire and Public Safety, Crossfit BLSC, Cove Life Church, Cove Charter Academy, CCHS HOSA, CCISD Step Team, Victory Baptist Church, Dominos Pizza, CCISD NAHS, Copperas Cove Municipal Court, Raising Cane’s, Lady Vipers, Aquatots Swim School, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, and Cinergy Cinemas.
Market vendors included Fun Flashers, Cove Theater, Jokes Kreations, Everlasting Grace Designs, Scents of Smell, Chibi Life, DC Delights, Covers Up and Such, JenX, Loot Box CG, CCJR Bulldogs Travel Basketball and Hilda’s Easy Peasy Nails.
Th 12 food trucks included La Palapa, Kona Ice, Kettle Cornucopia, Big Dog BBQ, Delectable Delights, Lowe’s Legs, Mimi’s Donuts, Papa Bear Kettle, Caribbean Flava Ice, Yum Yums, Candy’s Porch and the Reef.