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If a stay of execution isn’t soon delivered, a longtime Williston tradition will die.
The Williston Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the the Trail of Treats, has elected not to oversee the event this year, citing ever growing safety concerns.
What began more than a dozen years ago as a way of promoting both downtown merchants and a safe place for trick or treating, has now mushroomed to more than 3,000 participants–most from outside the city.
Police Chief Dennis Strow expressed his concern about safety months ago and suggested moving the annual Halloween event to a central location–like the football stadium. But merchants polled about another venue didn’t endorse the move, and the chamber decided to no longer sponsor the event.
Mary Kline, the chamber’s executive secretary, said the chamber had to purchase a $1 million liability insurance policy as the sponsor. That combined with additional law enforcement personnel and the financial drain merchants suffered due to the high cost of treats needed for the heavy volume of treaters contributed to the decision.
“It really is all about safety,” Kline said. “Now that Noble Avenue is a four line, even when the police close two lanes, it’s still risky.”
“We were hoping another group would come forward and sponsor it,” she said.
But to date no one has stepped up, and if no one does, it means back to the door to door solicitation of “Trick or treat?” come Halloween.