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City hosting Halloween event Sunday
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The city of Ceres will be hosting its annual Halloween Festival on Sunday evening between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Ceres Community Center.

Families will be treated to a safe and fun evening filled with free activities but all children must be accompanied by an adult.

"This will be more festive and light hearted rather than scary," said Recreation Supervisor Cambria Pollinger.

Budgetary cutbacks have eliminated candy and refreshment from the event, but lots of fun and free events are being offered at the center on Fourth Street.

"This is our theory: walk away with an experience, not cavities," said Pollinger.

A new activity promising to be popular is a horse-drawn carriage ride through the "haunted" Whitmore Mansion property a block away. The exterior of the historical mansion will be decorated with a haunted house look creepy mood lighting and a cackling witch beckoning her visitors.

Pollinger said George Cabral's rig can accommodate about 20 riders per trip but with all the other activities the lines are not expected to be too long.

"There will be so many other things to do," she said. "Every room, except for the kitchen, computer lab and restrooms will have some activity."

A costume contest, carnival games such as musical chairs, face painting, tricycle races, a petting zoo, crafts, photos, science fun, a "fortune telling" event, and "Monster Mash" dance instruction will be provided.

The Boy Scouts will be decorating the enclosed courtyard as a haunted cemetery which those who are easily scared may wish to skip.

Those in sixth grade and younger will not be permitted to visit the upstairs Teen Room which will be decorated in graphic Halloween style. The room is being fixed up by members of the Ceres Youth Commission.

Helping the city to put on the event will be approximately 70 youth members of groups from both Ceres and Central Valley high schools as well as Mae Hensley and Blaker Kinser junior high schools.

Last year's event drew about 1,500 to 2,000 visitors and included downtown Ceres and the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children. This year's event will not extend into downtown, said Pollinger, since the Partnership lost funding for the event.

For more information on the festival or any of the city's programs, call Cambria Pollinger at 538-5782.