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Hilltop Pumpkin Party got kids primed for Halloween

Maddie Gess of New Richmond undergoes a ghostly makeover, provided by Peggy Coleman of Hudson, left.

The Hilltop Pumpkin Party drew an estimated 3,000 people to YMCA Day Camp St. Croix on Saturday.

The event provides children with a chance to debut their Halloween costumes and local businesses an opportunity to introduce themselves to the parents. It is organized by the I-94 Business Alliance, a subgroup of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.

The event featured costume contests for children and pets, games and activities, a petting zoo and pony rides, horse-drawn wagon rides, scary stories, bounce houses and a pumpkin give-away. One thousand pumpkins grown by UW-River Falls agricultural students were provided.

S.O.S. for Youth performed skits, Magical Paul did his act and Officer Bob Larson of the Hudson Police Department K-9 Unit demonstrated the ability of police dog Officer Brisco.

The U.S. Army's local recruiting office displayed two Humvees for kids to explore. A voyageur rendezvous, an arts and craft fair, and a live broadcast by Thunder Country 95.7 FM radio also were part of the event.

Forty local businesses sponsored the Pumpkin Party, including Gold Sponsors Luther Hudson Chevrolet, Hudson Chrysler and Minuteman Press of Hudson.

Silver Sponsors were First American Bank, Thrivent Financial, BMO Harris Bank, Central Bank, Hudson Optical, Angel's Pet World, Coco's Rescue, Sylvan Learning Center and McCabe Chiropractic.

Kami Telschow from Alliance Title and Dawn Marquart of First American Bank co-chaired the organizing committee.