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Anoka, 'Halloween Capital Of The World,' Set To Host 101st-Annual Festival

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A full month of highly-anticipated Halloween fun is back again in Anoka.

The city usually goes all-out, but the pandemic forced many changes last fall.

Rush-hour traffic is bustling along Main Street in downtown Wednesday afternoon. But in about a month, it will be parade floats with tens of thousands of people lining the street as the "Halloween Capital of the World" returns to its original form.

The memories of the Anoka Halloween celebration are sweet for Bryanna Burleson and her daughter, Maya.

"I know that they all loved getting dressed up and showing off their costumes and getting the candy, it was all part of the experience for them," Burleson said. "So to think that they got to miss out on it because of COVID-19 was really sad."

The festivities were limited to a drive-by parade and several other subdued or canceled events in 2020, as pandemic concerns forced organizers to be cautious about large gatherings.

"It felt odd last year. It was good, we had traffic," said Liz McFarland, 2021 Anoka Halloween President.

Her concerns are gone this year, save for remembering how to throw a typical Anoka celebration.

Anoka Halloween Generic
(credit: CBS)

"We are back in full swing. Traditional events, planning the parades, all three of them, will be exactly how they used to be," McFarland said.

Returning in October are both the kiddie and night parades. Coronation is back, bingo nights and pumpkin carving. The "Wine and Canvas" events will be in-person this year instead of over Zoom.

The Grand Parade will roll down its traditional route of Main Street, bringing with it a huge crowd that has local businesses excited again. It has attracted up to 60,000 people in years past.

"I think we're really looking forward to seeing all the kids," said Alivia Tatum, manager at Two Scoops ice cream shop. "And hopefully they really love ice cream. We have so many great flavors right now."

A century of celebrating, back where it all began.

"Even though it's our 101st year, really it's our 100th year as an event," said McFarland.

Click here for more information about the schedule of events.

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