My introduction to Downtown Wilmington was the Halloween Loop. Talk about a first impression.
It was 1980, I’d recently returned to Newark after working for the U.S Olympic Committee in Lake Placid that winter, and my friends talked me into joining them for this Halloween bash in the city. I attended dressed as a woman. Within an hour, my mascara was running—literally and metaphorically.
Was this Market Street or Bourbon Street? Everyone was in costume, the streets were closed to traffic and overflowing with revelers, and it seemed as though there was a bar or restaurant every half block. We walked everywhere; no Loop buses needed. I know we started at a place called The Greenery. Where we finished…can’t remember.
What I do remember, however, was the impression the experience had on me. What creative spirit. What energy. What a city.
Who could have imagined that eight years later I’d become the publisher of a magazine covering this spectacle? And seven years later (1995), be tasked with keeping the monster alive.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Halloween Loop turns 40. This year’s celebration will be different. We are bringing the party back to where it all started—Market Street. A costume ball will take place at a venue we find especially appropriate, The Queen. What better venue for the party that refuses to die than a building brought back from the dead?
Proceeds will benefit the Light Up The Queen Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating positive change in the community through arts (see story page 25). And four bands that made a positive contribution to Wilmington’s music history will be performing: The Numbers, The Caulfields, Montana Wildaxe and The Snap. It will be the first time these four legendary local bands have appeared at the same show.
Forty years of the Halloween Loop. Let that marinate for a moment. What multi-venue event in Delaware can claim such longevity? What state celebration has more name recognition?
Just mention the Loop and eyebrows rise, ornery smiles appear. Many will then break into stories, recounting their memorable Loop moments. You can read a few on page 20.
Which is why the Halloween Loop holds special meaning. It has been a defining event in Wilmington’s history. It has been our Mardi Gras, as Loop co-founders observed nearly four decades ago. It has annually brought thousands to the city, even after the mojo had moved from Market Street. The Loop has created magic moments for our city.
Events can define a place. Nobody had heard of Max Yasgur’s farm before Woodstock. No one knew The Woodlands existed before Firefly. For many—and I speak with conviction here—their introduction to Wilmington was the Halloween Loop.
So, for me, the Loop spirit is more important than the party. OK, so this year the party will be different. A 40-year milestone deserves a special celebration. Hope to see you there.
But what happens moving forward? Let’s be creative. Let’s ensure that the spirit never dies.
For more information about this year’s Halloween Loop Costume Ball at The Queen – and to get tickets – go to: https://www.thequeenwilmington.com/EventDetail?tmeventid=0200570EDDF38CDE&offerid=110865