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12-YEAR-OLD HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL IS CANCELED

Youngsters in Lancaster won't be haunting the annual Halloween bash in Como Lake Park on Saturday.

The 12-year-old Halloween in the Park Festival was canceled, undercut by a lack of organizers, said John Trojanowsky, executive director of the Town of Lancaster Youth Bureau.

"We scheduled an organizational meeting. Unfortunately, a lot of people who served on the committee have moved on; some are deceased, others moved away, and the rest have other obligations," Trojanowsky said Monday.

In the past, the event was organized by two volunteer groups, A Healthy Outlook for Lancaster and Depew Committee and Friends of Como Park, a core group of about 30 people. In addition to a haunted house -- a focal point of the event -- the event usually included a live jazz ensemble, pony rides, a climbing wall, costume contest and refreshments.

Proceeds from the sale of refreshments helped pay for the following year's celebration, as well as provide funds for an annual contribution to Renaissance House and the Youth Bureau's Youth and Family Week event held each March. The net profits from the Halloween celebration ranged from a low of about $500, when inclement weather reduced attendance, up to $2,000, said Trojanowsky.

The Halloween in the Park Festival will be back next year, he said, but in a different form and at a different venue. Instead of volunteers, the Youth Bureau and the Parks and Recreation Department will organize next year's event, scheduled for the last Saturday in October 2005.

The Youth Bureau and Parks and Recreation Department also will be seeking new volunteers to assist in the planning.

"Over the years, the (Halloween festival) became an elaborate event. We didn't want to do a simplified version this year and turn people off. We would much rather take a year, regroup and redesign (the event)," said Trojanowsky.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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