By Jennifer Sheppard
HOLLY HILL - Trunk or Treat, an annual event that provides a safe and fun environment for children to collect Halloween candy, has been moved to Holly Hill Elementary School for this year.
The event, sponsored by the Holly Hill Chamber of Commerce, is usually held at Holly Land Park, but this year, will merge with the fall festival and carnival at the school.
Commissioner John Penny said holding the popular event at the school site will bring more attention to the new K-8 school that will be built at Holly Hill Elementary next year.
"Part of it is to promote one of the good things in our community," said Commissioner Penny, who is also vice president of the Chamber.
The K-8 school, one of the first to be built in Florida, is that "good thing," he said.
"All of the parties involved feel like the event will be a more successful community event by merging the two," Mr. Penny said.
Plus, combining the Trunk or Treat and the fall carnival, Commissioner Penny said, will save money.
Rose Schuhmacher, executive director of Holly Hill Chamber, said Trunk or Treat will be much expanded this year with a fall festival and carnival at the school.
"But as for Trunk or Treat, it will be very much the same," she said.
Organizers say the event is a safe alternative to children trick or treating door-to-door. Businesses set up their vehicles and decorate, Ms. Schuhmacher said, handing out candy to children and coupons to parents.
Some commissioners were upset about merging the fall carnival with Trunk or Treat. At a recent meeting, Commissioner Liz Towsley said the city prides itself on having the event in Holly Land Park, and the elementary school is on the "worst" street in Holly Hill.
"And you talk about traffic jam," she said.
Commissioner Rick Glass said Holly Land Park is a safer place for large crowds.
"There's no corners to hide in," he said. "There's face presence everywhere you look."
Mayor Roland Via said, while the city wants to partner with the school, he would have rather kept the event at Holly Land Park. Since the chamber had already sent out notices to local businesses, though, Mayor Via agreed to the change.
The event is Friday, Oct. 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Holly Hill Elementary School, 1500 Center Ave., Holly Hill, FL 32117.