Poe Fest cancelled, smaller Halloween event planned for Riverhead

09/20/2016 4:18 PM |

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The popular Edgar Allan Poe Festival in downtown Riverhead is, to quote Poe himself, nevermore.

At least for this year.

Steve Shauger, president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association (BIDMA), said Monday the organizers have “respectfully backed out of hosting the Poe Festival last week” over new insurance requirements.

Sal and Mary St. George, owners of St. George Living History Productions in Medford, organized Riverhead’s Poe Festival for the past two years. Mr. St. George could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Sal and Mary did a phenomenal job,” Mr. Shauger said. “They really brought the whole feel for Poe downtown.”

Mr. Shauger said his group is looking to host a scaled-down version of the Poe Festival this Halloween and hopes to reproduce two of the event’s most popular attractions: a daytime trick-or-treat event and a parade with a dance performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

“We’re not going to call it the Poe Festival and it won’t be based around Poe,” Mr. Shaugher said, adding this year’s one-day event is tentatively planned for Saturday, Oct. 29. “It will just be based around Halloween at this point.”

Other features from previous Poe Festivals, such as book readings in local restaurants, likely won’t be done this year, Mr. Shauger said.

Having a gap between trick or treating and the parade will give visitors time to stop by restaurants and businesses, he said, adding visitors could also see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Suffolk Theater after the parade.

“[Our] take on this is trying to determine how can we structure this in a way to benefit the downtown district,” Mr. Shauger said.

The BIDMA is scheduled to discuss plans for the upcoming Halloween event at its meeting Wednesday night.

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Photo credit: Katharine Schroeder

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