By Nathan Ham
The annual Boone Boo! Halloween event might have had some rough weather to deal with, but don’t tell that to the many children and adults dressed in their favorite costumes that packed King Street and the Jones House on Wednesday evening.
“It was amazing and I loved seeing how awesome our community is. We’re enthusiastic and we are weather resistant. I don’t think we were waterproof but we were definitely weather resistant,” laughed Lane Moody, the Downtown Development Coordinator for the Town of Boone. “It was one of those evenings that makes your heart full for how much fun it was downtown and having that sense of community. It was wonderful.”
Appalachian State University student-athletes, Student Government Association (SGA) members, Town of Boone employees and many others were on hand giving out candy and providing plenty of scares inside the haunted Jones House.
“We had a fun, scary, spooky time at the Jones House. I think we went through something like 12,000 pieces of candy,” said Mark Freed, the Director of Cultural Resources for the Town of Boone. “We were really happy to see the community come out and I was super proud of them to come out with their spirits high despite the weather. The rain couldn’t put a damper on that.”
This year’s version of Boone Boo! had a special attraction with an impromptu flash mob of dancers dancing to the classic Michael Jackson hit “Thriller,” a perfect song for a Halloween celebration.
Meleah Chatham, a hip-hop dance instructor at Appalachian Rhythm Clogging and Dance, has always wanted to participate in a flash mob, going so far as to add that to her bucket list. Ashley Cook, the owner of Appalachian Rhythm, detailed how the flash mob came together.
“We started talking about it and with “Thriller” being the quintessential flash mob go-to, it led us down the Halloween trail and we started talking about how cool it would be to do it at Boone Boo with so many people trick-or-treating and break out into a flash mob,” Cook said.
She then reached out to Moody and the rest of the staff at the Jones House to see if this would be something the town would be interested in supporting. After resounding approval, the work started to prepare for an epic Halloween flash mob.
Ashley’s dancers at Appalachian Rhythm were joined with dancers from High Country Dance Studio to make for a large collaboration of dancers.
“Our idea of a flash mob usually breaks out with one person dancing and then slowly other people join in. It grows and grows until you have a giant group of people all doing the same dance moves. We videoed the choreography and created a private Facebook page where we uploaded the video so that the dancers can learn at their studio and all my teachers would know what to teach in my studio,” said Cook. “We only had two or three giant group rehearsals. What’s cool about the whole thing is I don’t think we had one rehearsal where everyone was there and for it to still come together, it was pretty awesome.”
She added that the audience was just as excited as the dancers and thought it was an awesome surprise as part of the Halloween event.
“All the feedback was great. I heard from dancers who said they loved it and it was one of the most fun things they have been a part of. A lot of people were excited because they’ve never witnessed a flash mob, let alone participated,” Cook said.
Being able to include the clogging tradition into the flash mob dance scene made the event even more special to Ashley.
“I’ve never seen a flash mob with a clogging theme. Clogging being such a huge thing in North Carolina and in our community, it was a piece that we just couldn’t leave out,” she said.
In addition to the dancers in the flash mob, people in attendance saw Frankenstein rappel down the side of Mast General Store in the rain as part of the show.
“I was a little nervous about the weather with him doing that, but he said if the girls were dancing then he was rappelling,” said Moody.
Tom Henry played the role of Frankenstein and safely made it to the ground as planned.
Cook wanted to thank all of the community members that were willing to stand out in the rain and watch the dancing, as well as the Town of Boone, the Jones House, Mast General Store and all the dancers for making the flash mob go off without a hitch.
The Town of Boone is just breaking into the holiday spirit with a lot of events still on the schedule for the rest of 2019. Beginning in December will be the annual Festive First Friday with carriage rides in downtown Boone, Mrs. Clause helping children write letters to Santa and a special appearance by the man himself with Santa Clause showing up at Mast General Store. The Snowbelles will also be at the Jones House on that first Friday. The Christmas Parade will soon follow on December 14.
Photos by Ken Ketchie
Scenes from the Flash Mob performance: