Arts, Dining & Entertainment, Featured

Downtown Rutland closes streets for 58th annual Halloween Parade

Saturday, Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m.—RUTLAND—The Rutland Recreation & Parks Department’s 58th annual Halloween Parade is scheduled to take over Downtown Rutland Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 6:30 p.m. Line up begins at 5:30 p.m. at the firehouse. The parade route follows several streets: Madison Street and Strongs Avenue to Wales Street, left onto West Street, left onto Merchants Row, and ends at the plaza, in front of WalMart. With a theme of “Halloween,” floats are sure to be scary, as they are required to be fully decorated in the spirt of that theme!

Being held in the dark, this parade is unique and especially popular for the spooky holiday. Thousands of people will converge upon downtown Rutland to stake out a spot. Get to Rutland early, as parking can be difficult to find.

Parade judges will be awarding trophies in the following categories: Most Original – Superintendent’s Trophy Best Costumed Marching Band; Best in Parade – Mayor’s Trophy Best Costumed Marching Unit; Most Creative – Department Trophy Honorable Mention; and Tom Fagan award, sponsored by Initial Ideas.

The streets will be packed with kids and adults, many dressed in their own costumes in the spirit of the event, lining the streets for the perfect spot to watch the parade. Candy will be handed out by participants walking in the parade, so kids, bring a bag.

The Rutland Parade has a comical history that elevates well beyond ordinary Halloween parades, thanks to all the superheroes.

Tom Fagan, a local writer and comic book fan, is credited with having a hand in the parade’s early development, according to an October 2006 article. In 1970, Fagan is said to have persuaded his friends, who were comic book authors and artists from New York City, to dress up in superhero costumes and take part in the annual Rutland Halloween Parade. Tom Fagan passed away in 2008, but he will be forever tied to the area’s most ghoulish event.

“Tom was a comics fan supreme and chairman of the Rutland Halloween parade. Those two occupations were responsible for creating a parade with a fair number of superheroes marching along and riding on floats both in the comics and in real life,” Criag Shutt said in “Ask Mr. Silver Age: Tom Fagan,” a November 2008 Comics Buyer’s Guide report.

Since then, the Rutland Halloween Parade has been the setting for a vastly disproportionate number of superhero comic books. As of this past summer, the Rutland Recreation Department has devoted a space in the at its new location in the Courcelle Building in honor of the comics, displaying several of them in an ongoing exhibit. See it at 16 North Main Street Extension, Rutland.

Photo by Robin Alberti
This enormous T-rex float made its way down Wales Street as part of the 2015 Rutland Halloween parade.

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