Franklin Street fills with costumes and the gospel

A new 'pit preacher' known only as David, says he "might be the only happy person out here," to the crowd of 15,000 people gathered on Franklin St. for the Chapel Hill's annual Homegrown Halloween celebration on Tuesday, Oct. 31.
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A new 'pit preacher' known only as David, says he "might be the only happy person out here," to the crowd of 15,000 people gathered on Franklin St. for the Chapel Hill's annual Homegrown Halloween celebration on Tuesday, Oct. 31.
By

Orange County

Bananas and ‘bro’s’ abound at Chapel Hill’s Homegrown Halloween on Franklin Steeet

By Colin Warren-Hicks

cwarrenhicks@heraldsun.com

November 01, 2017 09:03 AM

CHAPEL HILL

It has become ever so hard to find a lively party on All Hallows’ Eve at which, upon arrival, one is not straightaway accosted by the sight of a young man costumed as a banana.

Perhaps like high heels it’s the added height the garb grants the wearer. Or maybe it is the gentle curve of the cylindrically shaped fruit that so appeals to so many youth.

In either case, bananas abounded at Chapel Hill’s “Homegrown Halloween” party.

So too did witches’ hats, demonic masks and hair bands with glued-on animal ears.

A scantily clad cat and a scarcely clothed kitten (parentage unknown) crawled on their hands and knees in the middle of Franklin Street. The felines paused in between slinks to look up, lift paws, curl fingers into claws and hiss for a friendly camera.

Click, click.

The photograph, and likely the internet, captured the pair’s wondrous night – forever.

Athletic gold statues parade down Franklin Street Tuesday night during the annual Homegrown Halloween celebration. Police estimated 15,000 people turned out for the event, one of the smallest crowds for the All Hallow’ Eve tradition.
Bernard Thomas bthomas@heraldsun.com

Law enforcement closed the college town’s main drag to automotive traffic promptly at 8:30 p.m.

Dump trucks loaded with dirt barricaded roadways that led to Franklin Street, protecting celebrants from any or all rogues bent on destruction.

“We had another great night on Franklin Street,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said. “Because our community understands how important it is to celebrate properly and safely and go home when we tell them to.”

The students were moved back to the sidewalks at 10:30 p.m. sharp, municipal street cleaners moved in and at 11:30 p.m. the disinfected thoroughfare was reopened to cars.

During the festivities, three medical calls for service were placed, two of them alcohol related.

However, on the whole, people didn’t look that drunk, excluding a few underclassmen who kept referring to each other as Bro.

“Bro. I love, Bro. Bro I (expletive) love beer. Bro,” one of them said. “Bro.”

To which a second one replied, “Beer me, Bro.”

Spiderman, Captain America and thousands of people dressed in costumes parade down Franklin Street Tuesday night during the annual Homegrown Halloween celebration.
Bernard Thomas bthomas@heraldsun.com

The crowd reached 15,000 people at its peak, the smallest in recent years.

In 2016, there were an estimated 25,000 people on Franklin Street, and before Chapel Hill imposed a curfew for the festivities, crowds used to swell well above 50,000.

One hopeful attendee Tuesday night was halted by five police officers and forced to turn back from entering Homegrown Halloween.

The 5-year-old Sugar shrieked as she was steered back in the direction of Carrboro. “Erreeeee,” she squealed out into the night.

Her master, Martha Avery, said Sugar was so popular last Halloween that it took the two of them four hours to walk just two blocks due to the bounteous attention heaped on Sugar.

Sugar is a potbellied pig.

And this year, pigs were not allowed.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks