By ROBERT JUMPER
One Feather Editor
CHEROKEE, N.C. – The Scare-O-Kee planning committee, headed up by Mollie Grant, met again on Wednesday, Aug. 30 to continue preparations. Several entities participated in the meeting including the Cherokee Indian Police Department, EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) Emergency Services, EBCI Facilities Management, EBCI Communications, EBCI Destination Marketing, and the Cherokee Water and Sewer Department.
Grant ran down the meeting agenda, which was segregated into specific areas of the event. The committee had, in the previous meeting, concluded that the event location would be the same as last year, holding Scare-O-Kee on Tsali Blvd, the Oconaluftee Island Park, and the old Cherokee Elementary School site. There was some discussion of using Unity Field as a haunted house overflow if they needed the space.
The time and date for Scare-O-Kee is Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Josh Turner, a member of the EBCI Emergency Management team, will be the deejay for the event. The Cherokee Indian Police Department will be supplying hotdogs, chips, and drinks for workers and volunteers with the Cherokee Fire Department will be taking care of the grilling. There will be food booths available for event goers.
The EBCI Communications Department will have photo booths for those who wish to capture their Scare-O-Kee costume for posterity. They will also be preparing and distributing the event flyer.
As was in last year’s event, there will be space for individual- and team-constructed haunted houses and candy booths. A fund allotment from the Office of the Principal Chief has been established for the construction/decoration of the haunted houses ($750 per team/house) and for the candy booths ($250 for each booth).
Safety is a major consideration for this event, and the committee is taking additional precautions this year to ensure a better flow of foot traffic inside the event. This year, there will be one entrance to Scare-O-Kee. Just below the intersection of Tsali Blvd and US Hwy 19 will be closed to both vehicular and foot traffic. The entrance to the event will be at the other end, closer to the Cherokee Welcome Center and Tribal Council House.
There will be additional “tower lighting” throughout the event space, and candy booths will be organized to make moving from one to the next easier. EBCI Emergency Management message boards will be used to communicate event information and directions. And, according to Cherokee Water and Sewer Department leadership, Acquoni Road will be clear of most construction with lanes open to accommodate the vehicular flow change from shutting down the portion of Acquoni Road needed for the event.
Categories of winners of the haunted house and candy booth construction were discussed. The committee plans to issue food prizes and trophies to those winners. This and other decisions will address in their next meeting, at which they plan to visit the event site to gain better perspective on the layout of Scare-O-Kee.