A Spooky Halloween 80th Birthday!
Goblins, ghosts, and witches returned to Glen Providence Park for its Halloween 80th birthday party! Amidst the deepening shadows on the last evening in October, more than 160 revelers came out to celebrate the 80th birthday of Glen Providence Park.
Witches, scarecrows and the young at heart, making their way toward the glimmering stage filled with jack o’lanterns, descended from the main entrance to Glen Providence Park along a path lighted with glowing luminarias. Trees in full fall splendor reflected the glow of sun setting into the valley below. Lions and tigers and bears clambered up a trail out of the glen to join the spectacle of other brightly colored merrymakers anticipating the first Halloween event in the park in more than twenty-five years.
The lilting voice of Hedgerow’s Grey Kelsey, accompanied by her guitar, filled the air with a medley of spooky songs warming up the crowd for an evening of both tricks and treats by the resourceful and talented actors of Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, America’s first repertory theatre.
The entertainment took a dramatic turn with the narrative “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping…” During his spellbinding performance, Brock Vickers’ footsteps hammered out across the stage, the haunting syncopated rhythm of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”. Vickers captivated the audience – that spanned all ages, from the first line to the last ‘nevermore.’ Still one of the most memorable poems of all times, it was published by Poe in 1845.
Following the lively “Witches’ Play” with Susan Wefel, Glen Providence Park Board President Stephanie Gaboriault invited the children on stage to blow out a candle on one of the cupcakes commemorating the park’s birthday. Cupcakes were then distributed among the audience and actors who still had room for a little more sugar!
Work started on Glen Providence Park on October 31, 1935 – a fitting birthday considering the glen’s haunted past, as recounted in 1909 in a scrapbook of prominent local physician and historian Dr. Anna Broomall. Two stories of local folklore documented in that scrapbook took place in Glen Providence Park long before 1935, back when it was called Scroggie Valley: a 1700’s Newlywed Ghost Story and the 1800’s Witches Ride. The Hedgerow Ensemble enacted both of these eerie tales, also recreating a scene from the tavern in one of the stories, with Hedgerow Executive Director Penelope Reed as Dr. Anna Broomall.
Twilight enveloped the park as the evening concluded with Grey Kelsey leading the audience and Hedgerow actors in singing the Hallowe’en song. A parade of costumed characters departed the park for a night of trick or treating on the town.
This celebration exceeded all our expectations and we are so grateful for the many people and organizations that supported this wonderful community event.
Thank you to our Event Sponsor Sterling Pig, the exciting new restaurant and brewery located on the border of Glen Providence Park, just one block from the main entrance. The amazing ensemble actors of Hedgerow Theatre, our wonderful partner in this dramatic event, made the experience fun and brought history to life. Delaware County Parks & Recreation restored the historical stage this summer for the park’s 80th anniversary. They have cared for Glen Providence Park since its creation in 1935, and their support makes our events possible.
And a special round of applause to the many families, friends, neighbors and members of the community who participated whole heartedly in this event!
See the wonderful photos by George Tate for a taste of this bewitching event! Click on any for a closer look, or scroll through them all…
Most photos by George Tate, with additional photos by Stephanie Gaboriault, Holly Hoffmann, and Friends of Houtman Park.