A team competes in coffin races during the 2019 Spooky City event in downtown Burlington. The annual Halloween-themed event will return in 2021 after being canceled last year due to coronavirus concerns. (File photo)

Event was canceled in 2020

Standard Press Staff

Spooky City will return to downtown Burlington Oct. 30 after a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Burlington Common Council on Tuesday approved a permit for the event, which typically features a costume parade, trick-or-treating at downtown businesses, hay rides and coffin races Pine Street.

The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to mid afternoon, will be held in conjunction with the annual Autumn Fest, organized by the city Fire Department as a fundraiser for the Tri-County Fire and Rescue Training Association.

Autumn Fest will begin at noon and run until 5:30 p.m. It will feature live music, and barbecued ribs, beverages and other vendors at Wehmhoff Square Park.

Last year the Common Council denied a permit for Spooky City citing concerns that a gathering of people downtown could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 at a time when the virus was surging.

Organizers Shad and Kristine Branen presented modifications to the traditional event – including a driving route option – but city staff recommended against approval of the permit.

At the time Shad Branen said the event was an important tool to bring people into the city’s downtown while the local economy suffered due to the pandemic.

Branen, who has since been elected alderman, abstained from a vote on the matter Tuesday.