The Spookapalooza Halloween Festival came to Ulster County for the first time, hosted at the Ulster County Fairgrounds and organized by Mystik Bazaar, a company that has thrown various themed festivals such as PirateFest in May.
Spookapalooza opened up their doors, for any who would dare, this past weekend. The festival offered everything that a Halloween festival should have. There were food and drink stands, various rows of vendors, spooky decorations such as a massive shipwrecked pirate ship with a skeleton crew and live entertainment. After dark, the Voodoo Bar opened along with the haunted house. Then the festival transitioned from Spookapalooza into FryteFest, a scarier version of the original festival.
Towards the front of the festival was a haunted house; a series of connected tents that stretched for over 120 feet. The Haunted House started with a large spin-the-wheel game that would determine the future cause of each visitor’s death, and the interior was littered with actors dressed up and ready to scare incoming guests behind every corner. In order to make their way to the exit, guests had to find their way through a maze where actors dressed in black, hid in dark corners and screamed until each visitor rushed to the graveyard outside that marked the end of the house.
Despite the fun of the haunted house, the most interesting part of the festival was the unique collection of vendors who made the journey from all over the country to sell their wares and services at Spookapalooza. Various tents scattered the fairgrounds selling anything one could desire. Herbal teas and remedies, pottery, hand carved spoons, jewelry, animal skulls, spell candles and even a metaphysical crystal shop was located on the Earth Wind and Spirit bus. They sold crystals which had, according to the owner Carol Clark, both metaphysical and scientific properties.
One of the more interesting shop owners was the owner of Up Cycle Energy Art, Roland Gregoire, who had on display a collection from various artists, of upcycled, organic, and nature based art, exclusively made from upcycled materials. “It’s fun and challenging,” Gregoire said, “The things I use for art are the things I encounter in daily life.”
Outside of Gregoire’s tent was a massive sculpture, reaching up to the top of the tent of a feeding hummingbird, gracefully drinking from a flower. The flower was intricately decorated with a variety of common materials such as tightly wrapped garden hoses and an old chandelier and the bird itself was created from weaved steel and chicken wire.
This wasn’t the only large sculpture that Gregoire had on display either. Towards the center of his tent was an impressive, sprawling tree made of tightly wound wire. Within the tree were hidden intricate details such as small wheels, mirrors and a saw blade that allowed the tree to constantly reveal new details as one looked closer at it. “I feel like the energy that created the individual parts is what shows through in my art,” Gregoire said.
Despite poor weather, both visitors and employees of the festival seemed in high spirits and hopeful of a return to the Hudson Valley next year.