Werewolves are howling and phantoms are prowling, Halloween’s upon us now and the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba is marking the start of the scary season with its inaugural Festival of Frights.
The Halloween yard-decorating contest is designed to bring the community together and celebrate the spirit of the season, said Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba operations manager Rick Dillabough. The contest officially kicks off Sunday and is open to all western Manitoba residential properties. A winner will be announced Nov. 1.
“It’s a nice way to dress up your yard and feel good about the time of season and look forward to Halloween and the chance to win a prize,” Dillabough said. “There are so many people who really embrace the season … It’s an opportunity for them to shine a bit.”
Entry to the yard-decorating contest is free. To submit an entry, families can take a photo of their Halloween-themed yard, email it to email@example.com or post it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #ProvExFoF2021. Entries will be judged by a group of specially selected community members.
The winner of the contest will receive a Royal Manitoba Winter Fair prize package that includes four complimentary passes to the 2022 Winter Fair, a $75 gift certificate from Joe Beeverz and a $100 gift card compliments of Home Hardware Brandon.
Dillabough said he is looking forward to seeing the photos of people’s creations and hopes it will help people get into the magic of Halloween night.
“The real fun thing is engaging the community and having them share photos, whether it’s in Brandon, Deloraine, Virden or Hamiota. That’s what it’s all about,” Dillabough said.
The purpose of the Festival of Frights, he added, was to provide the Westman community with a safe and innovative event that allows the community to celebrate the fall season and Halloween. He added it also serves as an opportunity for Provincial Ex to give back to a community.
He noted many residents already go all out for Halloween in Westman with spooks galore haunting their doorsteps. He expects there will be many spine-tingling installations in Westman yards given the current COVID-19 restrictions.
The idea for the Festival of Frights was inspired by other agricultural societies across the country. Dillabough saw many implore similar ideas last year and the notion to create a special yard-decorating contest in the Brandon area stuck in his mind.
Halloween is a beloved holiday in the community, and it was disheartening in 2021 as the province was experiencing a surge of the virus at that time forcing many shutdowns. This year, some things have returned, and the Provincial Ex is excited to bring a new spooktacular Halloween event to the community.
“We all know 2020 and 2021 have been tough and challenging years for all of the agricultural societies across Canada, including the Provincial Ex. We haven’t had many events the past two years,” Dillabough said. “We had to look at how we could change programming to our communities and find new and innovative ways to continue conducting businesses and in the process engaging the public.”
Dillabough said the Provincial Ex is continuing to plan for Ag Ex, taking place in October, and the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, taking place at the end of March 2022. The non-profit is working to build momentum for the return of these signature community events that have been cancelled over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s an opportunity for us to look ahead. Obviously, It’s been a really challenging year for so many
» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp
Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun