Reading the beautiful article “Rochester ‘Queen of Halloween’ to step down” in the October 7, 2016 issue of Blue Stone Press brought tears to my eyes and regrets that we haven’t participated to all Halloween events in our years of living here.
I respect the passion and energy the “Queen of Halloween” – Carol Dennin, Director of our town’s Recreation Department – put into creating and coordinating the annual Halloween Scarefest for the last 18 years.
Carol’s Grand Finale at Kelder’s Farm corn maze was themed “Field of Screams” and constituted an outstanding Halloween event; it was scary but also eerie, mysterious, a superb combination of amazing scenery, good sound and excellent lighting, diversity of costumes, with the enthusiasm and creativity of the participants.
With great weather just two days after snow and rain, the evening of October 29 was a magical experience, a mix of hard work, excitement and determination to create something unforgettable.
It was fascinating to see how seriously the players prepared their roles – from the 5-year old boy to the 71-year old senior, all paying attention to the details of make-up, costumes, masks, and props to be used. I felt happy and challenged trying to capture with my camera their creations and the many special moments; you can view the photographs on the Facebook page “Town of Rochester Youth & Community Center.”
Checking with the “Queen of Halloween” who the dedicated participants were during the years, she started by mentioning her current Recreation Department team, Rita Harkins and Ashley Sweeney and also – in the recent past – Valerie Weaver and Shaye Davis. Then, she continued, “The original cast and crew were Kris, Mark, Justin and Alison Zimmerman, Buddy Hornbeck, Jessica, Neil, Charlotte and Nick Knapp, Jilyn, Angela and Bradley Fries, Kim (Murto), Gabby and RJ Thompkins, John Tackett and those that joined us over the years were Donna Waddell, Jason and Devin Wells, Annie Challener, John, Jamie, Zach and Reilly Waddell, Kate and Jared Gundberg, Tony, Brayden and Sienna Sergio, Jimmy Dennin, Debbie Snyder and family, MaryAnne Gates, Elaine, Devon and Emily Sammuels, Manuela Michailescu and Jon Dogar-Marinesco, Adam, Lolly, Debbie, Adam and Tucker Chase, Elaine Sheehan, Lexi and Cassandra Woinoski, Kayla Vedder, Kelly Carron and her family.” Overwhelmed with emotion and sense of responsibility for the printed words, Carol Dennin added: “I apologize if I have missed anyone and let’s not forget that there have been various groups involved over the years such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4H and the Kerhonkson/Accord Chamber of Commerce, etc.” Congratulations and thanks to all!
Carol Dennin’s legacy is very rich and I’m sure the new staff would carry on this great tradition. It’s time now to say to Carol: We all love and admire you! Thanks for the wonderful memories.
Town of Rochester Youth Commission
Blue Stone Press, November 4, 2016 (pages 14-15)