Saturday, November 07, 2015

Spooky Wooky Stroudsburg

On All Hallows' Eve, the town of Stroudsburg, PA welcomed the holiday with a number of events through its Halloween on Main event which took place throughout Saturday October 31st. There were a great number of celebratory activities scheduled for the day. The majority of these were presented thanks to the volunteers who make up the ST'ART Stroudsburg initiative.

The day began with an Apple Festival which marked the conclusion of the weekly Monroe Farmers' Market that took place throughout the Summer in the town's Courthouse Square. The Market will take place within the Soho in the Burg Gallery on Saturdays from November 7th to March 26th beginning at 9am. The festival was followed by a Haunted Sketch Crawl which provided local artists with an opportunity to explore their talents while exploring some local cemeteries. The day also included a “Spooky Gallery” held at The Origins Gallery, Trick or Treating of which many businesses located on the town's Main Street section provided gifts to the costumed children who visited them, and there was a Find the Ghost Treasure Hunt. I arrived in town around 6pm to enjoy some events after the ones I listed had concluded.

While traveling toward Stroudsburg, I noticed a number of side streets were blocked off. Beyond the barricades I saw children and their parents going from house to house collecting candy from the residents inside. It was a joy to witness such happiness and the sights I've seen proved to be a portent of the evening that was yet to come which was reminiscent of those Halloweens the town had shared with its citizens decades before.

My first destination upon entering the town was its Courthouse Square where Jack the Storyteller was sharing some Spooky Stories to a small number of people. It was during these readings did a stroke of genius touched the Jack and his friends as the elements of theater was included in the presentation. The sight of watching individuals acting out the narratives of the stories caused the number of the audience to swell until the majority of the area was filled with delighted families and individuals.

The stories and impromptu performances were followed by a dance presentation given by the Gigi and Company dancers whose routine was inspired by Michael Jackson's song titled, “Thriller” which is the title track from the 1982 album. A large square was formed which became the stage for the numerous dancers of varying ages to apply their considerable talents. A delight was felt among the observers as each step reminded many of the impact the song and the music video that accompanied it has had on the Halloweens since their release.

The completion of the dance routine was met with much well deserved acclaim by the gathering and was followed by a “Monsters' Crawl” led by the Juggernaut String Band. The crawl provided an opportunity for the costumed denizens of the night to parade their spookiness along Stroudsburg's Main Street. The crawl moved throughout the town in a counter clockwise direction to signify two things. The first was relating to the daylight saving times which called for clocks being turned back an hour later that evening and the second was to call upon the spirits to reestablish the event as the annual community sharing it once was. This sentiment was embraced by every heart that were there physically and in spirit.

After the Monster Crawl, a Monster Bash was held at The Origins Gallery. The celebratory atmosphere of the venue was enhanced by music performed by the Juggernaut String Band which consists of Pete Taney, Joy Taney, Vid Ryan, and Cat Burbage. Thanks to the lively mixture of Cajun, Zydeco, and other musical traditions, a great deal of wild dancing and joyous conversations were shared by the denizens of the establishment. The evening also included a costume contest with some contestants winding up wearing a bit less than they did before the competition started. I was inspired to enter. My costume of a millionaire did not win the prize but a well deserving Melody Jane did with her bat attire.

Afterward the contest, the Juggernaut String Band retook the stage and further infused the crowd with their joyful energies until it was time for those who were present to begin sharing their farewells with one another. The bash proved to be a wonderful end to an even more wonderful day as many people stated how nice it was for Halloween on Main to be happening and how they’d like to see it take place again next year. The curators of The Origins Gallery and members of the St’ART Stroudsburg Staff, Jody Singer and Ashley Catherine Fontones, shared their assurance it was their intention that Halloween on Main would be an Annual event and announced that other happenings relating to the arts are being explored for 2016.

A special thank you was given by Mr. Singer and Ms. Fontones to the Juggernaut String Band whose inspiring help was instrumental to bringing Halloween on Main about. Subsequent postings on the Origins and St’ART Stroudsburg Facebook Pages expanded the listing of appreciative sentiments to include the Stroudsburg Borough Council and the Monroe Commissioners for support and for granting the permissions needed to satisfy all legal requirements. The Pocono Arts Council, the Pocono Arts District, and all the local businesses and personal were thanked for support and donations. And, those who shared their talents as Volunteers and assistants were also included in their words of thanks. You'll find more photographs taken during the Halloween on Main event in the Spooky Wooky Stroudsburg Gallery at

ST'ART is currently staffed by former Project Street Art Core members and continues to seek opportunities to pursue new projects and and form new partnerships throughout the community. ST'ART has added to the number of Murals painted among the businesses located in Stroudsburg, PA and participated in the town's 200
th Anniversary through their Commemorative Painting Project. You can learn more about ST'ART and how to become involved with their endeavors by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

According to Wikipedia, Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is a celebration observed in a number of countries on the 31st of October which is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day which is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all those faithful to the Christian Deity who had departed. All Hallows' Eve is, according to some views, a Christianized observance influenced by Celtic harvest festivals particularly the Gaelic festival known as Samhain. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, and watching horror films. The word Halloween dates back to about 1745 meaning “hallowed evening” or “holy evening.”

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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