MARQUETTE - The city of Marquette and the Marquette Downtown Development Authority teamed up Saturday evening to host and produce an elaborate Halloween spectacle beginning in several locations around downtown Marquette and culminating in a collaborative performance at the Marquette Commons.
The spectacle was the first event of its kind put on in Marquette. More than 100 people from around the community volunteered to take part.
"This is very much a community effort," said Tiina Harris, director of the Marquette Arts and Culture Center. "We invited different groups throughout the community just to do their thing, but to come as other things.
Costumed participants in the inaugural Halloween Spectacle in downtown Marquette make their way toward the Commons during the event’s sunset procession Saturday evening. Various groups began at Peter White Public Library, Mattson Lower Harbor Park, Harlow Park and the Rock Street parking lot and converged on the Marquette Commons for a large-scale community outdoor performance of giant puppetry, percussion and theatrical dance. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
"For example, Marquette Folk Dancers are zombies, (the) roller derby (team) are ravens, you know, and it really is a pageant. It's a procession."
All of the spectacle's processions and performances were conceived by community participants.
"It shows the creativity of the community," Harris said. "All of this was written and put together by the community. None of this was packaged."
News about the spectacle spread quickly, according to Harris, and many area residents were eager to participate.
"It kind of took on exponentially as we started talking about it to people," Harris said. "I think community members are just hungry to have a performance experience and be a part of something. People that are in this aren't performers. They didn't audition. Anyone could be in it. I'm hoping next year we have thousands of people in it. And I hope people take it on."
Because of the enthusiasm with which the community has embraced the event, Harris said she is confident that it will not only continue next year and in the years to come, but that it will become larger and something special to the people of Marquette and surrounding communities.
"The city of Marquette and Downtown Development Authority partnered to make this happen, and now it's really taken on a life of its own," Harris said. "And what that life will be, I don't know, but it's definitely not a scary thing. It's more a beautiful thing."
Zach Jay can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.