With more than 22,500 served in the inaugural Candy Cruise event, which took place throughout the community of Prince George on Halloween, event organizers say it was a huge success.
Borne out of social distancing restrictions that limited regular trick-or-treating this Halloween, the Candy Cruise provided an opportunity for trick-or-treaters to get some treats from the safety of a vehicle.
The event was designed to provide the residents of Prince George with a completely unique, over the top, and outrageous Halloween event experience that is safe and ‘pandemic-friendly’ in a year that has been anything but normal or easy for families.
“We had over 65 partner organizations, well over $50,000 worth of candy and treats, and we served over 22,500 people from our community at our 10 hub locations,” said Dave Horton, Candy Cruise creator and event manager. “We couldn’t have asked for a better result from our inaugural event. It takes a community of people to pull something like this off. Huge numbers of volunteers, overwhelming numbers of patrons, but most of all it is the positive impact left on the community that excites me the most. Parents and families have been through so much lately, and to provide a bit of reprieve for families to get out and have fun together is something that this community is going to remember for years.”
Event organizers say that the community participation ended up being much greater than initially expected. Volunteers at each hub location stepped up and accommodated the influx of participants with great expedience, and professionalism which resulted in providing thousands and thousands from Prince George with a safe and fun Halloween alternative, say organizers.
“Events like Candy Cruise require a wide range of individuals with unique skillsets to pull it off. We had a phenomenal team step up, from our site commanders, right down to our partner organizations and vendors who came together to run through thousands of cars through our sites in under four-and-a-half hours,” said Chris Van Luven, who was in charge of logistics. “It is a remarkable feat and is a model that hasn’t been tested anywhere in western Canada to the best of my knowledge. I am very proud of our team for their dedication and hard work and am thankful for the folks who volunteered their time to bringing such a great experience to Prince George.”
The event featured a drive-thru style format with 10 different hub locations spread throughout the community with over 45 vendors distributing candy and treats to families. The event was planned in consultation with Northern Health, provincial government officials, the RCMP, the city, and other governing bodies.
“It is really great to see how the Prince George community came out to support this new and unique event,” said organizer Kyle Sampson. “Dave [Horton] came up with the concept for Candy Cruise, and totally put his heart and soul into bringing our city some fun and excitement in a time where we have been challenged to come up with engaging entertainment that is also safe. It is important to note how events can be planned with such meticulous detail and organization, but you never know what to truly expect until you get rolling with the event – and that is especially true with free events where your anticipated patron numbers are unpredictable. I think what we experienced with Candy Cruise was the community has a lot of pent up excitement to get out and enjoy themselves right now, and they saw the opportunity to do so with Candy Cruise because of the great lengths Dave and his team went to, to ensure it was well planned, fun, and safe.”
Horton added: “All in all, Candy Cruise was a complete success … and for that I am relieved. We came, we served, we worked really hard, and we made it through. The event served its purpose which was to provide a totally outrageous event for families who deserve it – we all deserved this safe community oriented alternative this year, and Prince George showed up. Thank you.”