There’s still time to put together a costume and make plans to be in Wilton Manors this Halloween.
The organizers of “Wicked Manors,” now in its 13th year, always hold the event on Halloween no matter which day of the week it falls on. (This year it’s a Thursday).
The event is a logistical achievement to be sure, as upwards of 30,000 people are expected to descend on Wilton Drive in their best “7 Deadly Sins”-themed costume Oct. 31. Attendance can be as high as 50,000 when Halloween falls on a weekend.
The event is a fundraiser for the Pride Center at Equality Park, with proceeds going toward its programs and services. The Wilton Manors nonprofit is also the event host.
Doug Cureton and Bobby Kyser founded the event in 2007 when about 1,000 people showed up and event costs totaled about $5,000.
The cost to put on the event is now more than $50,000 – mostly a function of increased security needs. Crowd safety is an issue that has taken on greater urgency in recent years, especially since the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016.
Roger Roa, director of development at the Pride Center, said security entry points have doubled this year to six.
“We have been in planning meetings with [the Wilton Manors Police Department] and all of the departments within the city of the past six months to ensure we provide a safe space for the community to come together,” Roa said.
Organizers are asking attendees to pay a $5 entry fee again this year to help defray security costs. (If you don’t carry cash, you can pay $5 on the event website as well).
Time to have fun
With security in place and logistics coming together, the focus for attendees can be all about having a good time.
Wicked Manors is now considered one of the largest Halloween street festivals in the country.
“I’m looking forward to seeing great costumes this year,” Cureton, who is the event chair, said. “There will be a lot of individual ‘Sins’ and maybe collective ‘Sins’ coming to the Drive.”
Last year’s theme was “Game Night.” “Hell on Heels” was the theme the first year.
The fun isn’t just for adults, either. There is trick or treating for kids at various entry points up and down Wilton Drive with participating businesses starting at 5 p.m. Trick or treating will continue until the kids costume contest at 6:30 p.m. on the main stage.
Event bars and Wilton Drive entrances are open to everyone from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The main stage is located at 6th Avenue and Wilton Drive where the costume contests will take place.
Roa said the main stage will feature radio producer and host Miss Bryan (Ryan Carstensen) and DJ Kimmy B from the DJ Laz Show on HITS 97.3.
Performer Misty Eyez will return for her 13th year as the main stage emcee.
The costume contest has four categories: kids, sexiest, group, and a grand prize for best “7 Deadly Sins”-themed look.
There will be two other stages along the drive as well – the dance stage in front of the The Manor Complex and the Easy 93.1 stage by Rosie’s Bar & Grill.
Hunters Nightclub is the presenting sponsor for the sixth year. Roa said there’s also a new partnership this time around with NBC 6.
“They will be producing commercials leading up to the event and will be broadcasting live the night of the event,” he said.
The Pride Center is hosting the event bars under white canopies along Wilton Drive which generate funds directly for the organization. They will be located on Wilton Drive at NE 22nd Street, NE 7th Avenue and NE 9th Avenue.
As always, organizers recommend attendees use ride-sharing services, since parking around Wilton Manors will be limited. Parking is available at The Pride Center for $20.
“The [Wilton Manors Police Department] will work with taxi and ride-sharing companies to designate drop off/pick up locations to coordinate traffic flow and alleviate traffic congestion,” Roa said.
All the latest information and updates can be found on social media and at wickedmanors.org.
For more about the Pride Center, go to PrideCenterFlorida.org.
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