The 2019 Hiawatha Halloween Frolic “The Season of the Witch” is one for the history books as the 105th event went on without a hitch — despite a frosty visit from Mother Nature.
Most of the predicted snow fell Wednesday, but didn’t amount to much to cause travel problems. A few slick sidewalks were still to be found by Thursday afternoon, but that didn’t keep the hoards of trick or treaters from hitting the businesses up for candy from 3:30 to 5 p.m. following the Afternoon Parade.
At 5:45 p.m., the Hiawatha High School Marching Band performed on Oregon Street in front of the grandstand and at 6 p.m. was the Halloween Queen crowning. This year marked the 100th year of Halloween Queens and to honor that memory of the first Halloween Queen — Ruth Rice Sterns — her great-great granddaughters Brynn and Laytynn Boggs participated in the crowning and were escorted in the evening Grand Parade by John Wright.
Hiawatha Halloween Queen candidates and their escorts proceeded to the center of Oregon Street, facing north at 6 o’clock on Halloween evening. Ciara Nioce served as Halloween Queen coordinator and organized this year’s event — as well as the past few years.
This year’s candidates were from local schools in Northeast Kansas: Miss Everest Madelyn Bruning and father Jacob Bruning, Miss Hiawatha Nicole Mackey with mother Christina Simpson, Miss Horton Elanie Vanderweide with father Derrick Vanderweide, Miss Sabetha Ainsley Smith with father Rick Smith, Miss Seneca Jessica Deters with father Robert Deters, Miss Wathena Morgan Keihnhoff with father Mark Keihnhoff, Miss Wetmore Savannah Stallbaumer and father Ken Stallbaumer, Miss Willis Kailea Smith and father Jason Smith.
Contestants had to present a talent and an essay before judges, other contestants and their families. As well as being judged on their essay, the contestants were judged on leadership, community involvement, scholastic achievements and had to answer two interview questions in front of a panel of judges.
The 2019 Hiawatha Halloween Queen Ainsley Smith of Sabetha was crowned Thursday, Oct. 31 before the evening Grand Parade. Madelyn Bruning of Everest, was named 1st Runner Up and Savannah Stallbaumer of Wetmore, who was named Miss Congeniality. They were crowned by 2018 Halloween Queen Sydney Snyder of Holton. Queen escorts were Emersyn Nigus and Kai Nioce.
Nioce wanted to thank Rainbow Communications for donating the queen scholarship, Deb’s Images for donating the queen photo, Just For You Jewelry and Gifts for donating the queen crown, Mainstreet Flowers for donating the queen bouquet and flowers, Lori’s Embroidery & More for donating the sashes and the Fisher Center for use of their building for the contest day. She also wanted to thank Ag Partners, Dr. Jordan Haedt, Tice Health Mart, Morrill & Janes Bank and Hiawatha World for financial donations to use toward the Miss Congeniality and 1st Runner-Up scholarships.
“Without all of these donations, this scholarship contest would not be possible,” she said.
The 2019 Halloween Grand Marshals were voted as Ed and Deb Christian and they were escorted through the evening Grand Parade by Savage Paden with Hiawatha Ford.
A new award this year was Mr. and Mrs. Hiawatha and the first recipients were named as Jere and Patty Bruning, They were escorted through the evening Grand Parade by Jim Brennan with Anderson Ford.
Hiawatha Chamber and Visitor Bureau board President Kate Miller said the board saw so many people in Hiawatha giving back not only financially, but through volunteerism and felt there needed to be a way to honor all of those years of service.
“We felt a Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. Hiawatha award was a way to do that to celebrate Hiawathans who have given so much back to their community,” she said. “To kick it off we could think of no one better than Mr. and Mrs. Jere Bruning to start this new tradition. It may not be a yearly award, it will completely depend on the nominations from community members but it is something we are hopeful will grow throughout the years.”
The final announcement of the evening was the winning theme for 2020 — Rockin’ Around the Pumpkin Patch. Everyone is encouraged everyone to get those creative juices flowing for amazing logos, costumes and floats for the 2020 Halloween Frolic to celebrate 106 years. Follow the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau on social media and check out the Hiawatha Halloween Frolic pages for information on this year’s events as well as plans already posted for next year’s contests.