‘Frolic’ celebrates centennial: it began for flowers

_________________ Halloween season, 2014

The Hiawatha Kansas “Halloween Frolic” is noted as the oldest continuous Halloween parade in the nation. This year is the “Frolic” Centennial. And it all began with concern for a flower garden.

Halloween Frolic Flowers Float

the semicentennial ‘Halloween Frolic’ float honoring Mrs. Krebs

For the flowers — then
     By 1914 Mrs. John Krebs had had it with local younguns who celebrated Halloween tricks by tearing up her flower garden and wreaking other havoc on the city downtown streets. She decided to get downright creative about it. For that upcoming Halloween, she organized an official celebration.
     It consisted of inviting local youths to dress in costume and meet for a Frolic. They were given noisemakers and were led in a parade along downtown streets.
     The first ever Hiawatha “Halloween Frolic” parade is said to consist of riders on decorated trikes, and costumed marchers pulling decorated wagons, tooting horns, and rattling makeshift noisemakers. A local band accompanied the frolic.  Mrs. Krebs provided homemade cookie treats to all who participated.
     The celebration diverted tricksters from ransacking her garden and other local properties, and rewarded them for using thing frolicking energy elsewhere.
     Over ensuing years, the parade became official, and costume contests were added. Local businesses and organizations partook in the parade and in costume prize contributions. They were also happy to divert the local youngsters from pranking on their property.  A few years later an election of a Halloween Queen became part of the festivities. Costume contests were added. ‘Frolic’ attendees and spectators grew to the thousands. In the midst of all this, Mrs. Krebs bowed out as administratress.
     Yet she remains honored every year in the official parade, with flowers.

For the flowers — today
     For the past nine years Main Street Flower Shoppe, downtown Hiawatha, has contributed the annual Halloween Frolic parade official Mrs. Krebs honorary flower arrangement.  ‘Tis propped in the back of a pickup truck as the parade opener.
This as the annual parade became less formal yet always honorable of the founder, Mrs. Krebs defending her flower garden.
     The bouquet flower choices vary per year, says Main Street Flower Shoppe proprietress Kim Kleopfer, and usually feature autumn colors like oranges, reds, bronzes, and yellows. This year she plans a bouquet featuring petite  cushion mums and large blossom football mums.
     Main Street also contributes the Halloween Queen’s bouquet, as the Queen holds it on her featured float. This year ’tis to feature Circus Roses that are orangey-red with yellow tips.

More information
     The 100th annual Hiawatha Kansas Halloween Frolic is October 31st, 2014. Festivities include a kid’s costume contest, business Trick or Treat downtown, an afternoon parade and an evening Grand Parade.
     For more information visit here or peruse the Hiawatha’s 100th Anniversary Frolic website.


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