Community Trunk or Treat event draws more than 3,000 in Wichita

10/27/2013 6:59 PM

10/27/2013 11:55 PM

More than 3,000 people came in droves Sunday for the first downtown Wichita Trunk or Treat.

By the time they were through, the tiny princesses, goblins, orange kitties, zombies and little bitty Spider-Men all clutched a parent in one hand and a giant bag of candy in the other.

“I thought it was very kind of them and generous; we’ve had fun,” said Kristin Njorge, a mom who sported green ogre ears a la Fionna from “Shrek” and whose 4-year-old daughter, Ann, dressed as Princess Tiana from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog,” complete with blue fingernails.

“She got a whole bag of stuff,” Njorge said.

Ann Njorge said her favorite part was “the lollipops.”

In Wichita on Sunday, Broadway was blocked off from Elm Street south to Second Street.

The idea was to build community, said Brent Johnston, senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church.

“We wanted to create a community event where neighbors could get to know their neighbors,” Johnston said. “We have a drive-in community, particularly with our churches, where people drive in and out and don’t really get to know the people in the neighborhood.”

He said having participation fromCatholics, Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians provided a great opportunity to attract a wide range of people.

“The Trunk or Treat is something we knew the kids would love,” he said. “When you think about downtown revitalization, this is all about building community.”

It was a giant block party. Volunteers parked vehicles with trunks filled with candy up and down Broadway.

Jan Haberly, director of the Lord’s Diner, said Sunday’s event was more than two months in the planning. Organizations participating included the YMCA, the Lord’s Diner, Mead’s Corner, Inter-Faith Ministries, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Economy Corner, First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

The Lord’s Diner provided hot dogs, chips and drinks to those who lined up behind the truck.

Free costumes were given to any children who needed them.

“It’s amazing,” Haberly said. “The naysayers weren’t so sure we could pull this together.”

But on Sunday, the crowds spoke to its success, perhaps hinting at an annual event, Haberly said.

“I don’t think we could ever say no to another one like this,” she said.

Johnston said community “is about everybody coming together. We wanted this event open to everyone.”

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