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Come home for Halloween

Pumpkin expertly carved by Skylar Quates, 6, and Tristan Quates, 4. (Photo, Austin Nelson)

Call it the Great Greenville Staycation.

“If there was ever a fantastic reason to stay home and enjoy all the entertainment and activities offered right here in Greenville, this is it,” said Sue Arnold, Greenville city clerk-treasurer.

Arnold is referring to this week’s Great Greenville Homecoming, the local celebration marking Alabama’s Year of Small Towns and Downtowns.

The festivities kick off at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 28, with a historical marker dedication on the City Hall lawn.

The new marker features the story behind “The Camellia City” nickname on one side and the history of Greenville itself on the other.

“Nonnie Stanley Hardin, who is the daughter of Advocate editor Glenn Stanley who ardently promoted camellias and ‘The Camellia City’ name, will help unveil this new marker with our mayor, Dexter McLendon,” said Arnold.

Following the dedication, McLendon will be the guest speaker at 11:30 a.m. at a special Rotary Luncheon at Beeland Park, catered by Nanny’s Fine Dining.

“The Greenville Rotarians have been gracious enough to open this to anyone who wishes to attend. Tickets are just $10 and available in advance at the clerk’s office in City Hall,” said Arnold.

On Thursday night, everyone is invited to bring youngsters 12 and under downtown during The Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s first “Trick or Treat on Commerce St.”

The street will be blocked from the underpass to the courthouse, with participating businesses manning booths along the sidewalks where children can get their Halloween goodies.

The sirens will sound at 5:30 p.m. to signal the start of trick or treat and again at 7:30 p.m. to signal its end. GACOC director Francine Wasden stresses Thursday night is the official trick or treat time in Greenville both in neighborhoods and downtown, and the event on Commerce St. is not taking the place of traditional trick or treat. “Folks can trick or treat door-to-door during this time, or downtown, or why not do both?” she said.

Fall photos by Monk Photography and concessions through Greenville Parks and Rec will be available in Confederate Park that night, with Polka Dots Café open for business throughout the action-packed weekend.

Once the gathering of goodies is over, everyone should head for City Hall for the grand finale at 7:30 p.m.-a moonlight performance of “Thriller” by the spooky Haunted Firehouse characters and FDA’s JV and Varsity Dance Teams.

“It’s all about the kids and kids-at-heart Thursday night. We hope they’ll put on their costumes and come out and enjoy themselves,” said Wasden.

For more scary fun, the Haunted Firehouse will be open for thrills and chills each night during the Homecoming. The ticket are $6.

Wasden stressed any shoppers or downtown employees would need to make sure their vehicles were moved and their trick-or-treat goodies unloaded before 5 p.m. as no parking will be allowed on that stretch of Commerce Street Thursday night during the event.

For more scary fun, the Haunted Firehouse will be open for thrills and chills each night during the Homecoming. Tickets are $6.

On Friday, October 29 at 7 p.m., a free gospel concert by Southland, featuring noted local talents David Norrell and daughter Madison, is set for the historic Ritz Theatre downtown.

Come Saturday, October 30, things kick off bright and early at 7 a.m. with the Greenville Homecoming 5K Run starting off at Tiger Stadium.

Head out to Sandcutt Road for Old Time Farm Days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavors of farm life in days gone by.

In town, “motor heads” can enjoy the Car Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Confederate Park, offering everything from antique roadsters to muscle cars, street road, trucks and motorcycles. Greenville P&R will offer refreshments as folks browse and admire the modern chariots on display.

The City of Greenville is bringing “Party in the Park” on Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a concert and street dance featuring “The Fabulous Shades,” an oldies band with local connections.

“Larry Hughes, who is the brother of Jeannie Griffin of the Sandcutt Community, performs with this band and they are said to be absolutely fabulous. We want folks to pack a picnic supper and come early with their lawn chairs and blankets and make a night of it,” said Arnold.

“Plan to sit back and relax under the stars or boogie down to your favorite dance tunes.”

Concessions will also be available in Confederate Park that night.

The busy weekend closes out on Sunday, October 31 at 2 p.m. with the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society’s quarterly meeting at City Hall, with a program entitled “The Mysterious Mrs. Christian,” focusing on Jean Till Styles’ great-great-grandmother, the daughter and granddaughter of Revolutionary War soldiers.

Special refreshments after the meeting will feature a selection of Heirloom Pies from BCHGS’s own cookbook. Attendees are welcome to bring a favorite family pie to add to the menu.

“We welcome anyone who is interested to come and join us Sunday as Greenville closes out this very memorable weekend,” said Annie Crenshaw of the BCHGS.