Spooky tour of outer East Portland

From Lents, to the East Portland Community Center and then the Parkrose Ghost Town – you’ll enjoy the many photos of kids (and adults) having pre-Halloween fun …

This is where we ended our tour – at the Parkrose Haunted Ghost Town at Rossi Farms.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Saturday, October 27 was the big day for big Harvest and Halloween festivals across outer East Portland. We love to see grown-ups and kids having fun together. Come along and join our Spooky Tour!

Lents Community Harvest Festival

These two gals love showing off their spiders at the Community Harvest Festival in Lents.

Our first stop is in the recreation room of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Lents.

“Welcome to our Community Harvest Festival,” says organizer Amie Diffenauer with ROSE Community Development.

At the Lents Harvest Festival are organizers Alys Allwardt; and, Amie Diffenauer with ROSE Community Development.

Around the room, we see families enjoying a grilled hamburger lunch and snacks, playing games and making crafts.

“This year our theme is around building community,” Diffenauer tells us. “We’re trying to get the community out to learn more about the services available here in Lents. And, we’re getting people to meet one another.”

Crafts engross these kids at the Harvest Festival.

East Portland Community Harvest Festival

Coming all the way to the East Portland Community Center from Clackamas is Antoinette and Kephron Alexander. They are standing in front of mom, Nicole and the family’s makeup artist (and dad), Cliff Alexander.

Next, we head to the East Portland Community Center to check in on their event. When we arrive, the place is hopping with creatures of all descriptions.

We’re welcomed by the center’s manager, Abbe MacFarlane. “This is our tenth annual Harvest Festival. It’s put on in cooperation with the Montavilla Community Center.”

Tossing her cookies, this little gal tries to win a prize.

Hunter Osborn is having is face painted by Heather Rubicam as his sister, Olivia Osborn, checks out makeup job.

In one room, we find Multnomah County Library folks on hand for scary story-time readings.

The craft room is packed with kids. Other kids are getting temporary tattoos and having their faces painted. A game room is set up for kids 4 and under; the gym has the games for the older children.

Christian and Angelina Deo are having fun in the Craft Room, backed up by Vickie Deo and Janet Huntley.

“We’re expecting about 1,000,” says MacFarlane “This is a great alternative to kids going out at night. Many parents aren’t really interested in taking their kids out trick-or-treating after dark. This gives them the chance to have fun and wear their costumes in a safe and clean place.”

Parkrose Haunted Ghost Town

The “All-Fright Dancers” warm of for their performances before hundreds of folks who visit the Haunted Ghost Town at Rossi Farms.

We’re a bit saddened to discover that a great Halloween tradition ending when we see the “Final Year” signs posted by the Parkrose Haunted Ghost Town entrance on the Rossi Farms property.

Long time supporter Craig Flynn, with his daughter Kelly, get ready for their next-to-the-last evening at the Haunted Ghost Town.

“It must be around nine years ago when we started it,” reminisces Craig Flynn, one of the original and sustaining volunteers behind the event. “I’ve been helping ever since. I’m moving away, and I don’t know of Joe [Rossi] will ever find anyone else who will put in the effort.”

What Flynn says he enjoys the most is that they’ve added to the attraction “a little here and there every year. We didn’t completely change the design this year. But, we did add some tunnels in the back of the barn.”

Teri Mannen is doing the face make up for big Roger Sweisberger – turning him into the Parkrose Werewolf Cowboy.

As we walk around, just before opening time, we see characters putting on makeup and putting on their costumes. In addition to students from Parkrose High School, 15 to 20 adults volunteer at the event.

Event supports Parkrose High Senior All-night Party
In the corn maze, we meet up with the chair of the Haunted Ghost Town committee, Barbara Snoozy – before she gets into her costume.

Volunteers Vivian Lanegan, Deanne Volk and Barbara Snoozy get ready to haunt the Ghost Town for another evening.

“I’ve been a volunteer on this project for five years,” Snoozy says. This event is the major fundraiser for the Parkrose High School Senior All-night Party.”

Their first weekend was a little damp, reports Snoozy. “Actually, it was very wet. The second weekend looks great. We have clear weather, and a full moon. We’re ready to go. We should have between 500 and 800 visitors per night.”

Their motto is “Touch nothing, and nothing will harm you.” Those who don’t heed this advice might need the services of this fellow: Mr. Undertaken.

Is she a good witch or a bad witch? We didn’t stick around to find out.

In the past, Snoozy explains, Rossi Farm employees did a lot of the work. “This year, parents pitched in and we did it all ourselves with the help of Craig Flynn. It was tough. We didn’t realize that we weren’t good at building a corn maze – but we learned the hard way.”

Due to the changes of at the farm – and the cost of buying the corn – this will likely be the final year of the event Snoozy says. “The corn is a huge expense. It was grown specifically for this event.”

Is all the work they put in worth the effort? “It is really fun,” admits Snoozy. “I’ll miss doing it – but I will have October back.”

“Who’s cheatn’ at cards, you ask? We all of are, of course!”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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