COVINGTON, LA — Organizers of this year’s Boo Fest were expecting rain from Olga, so they spent Friday setting up the tents and fencing along a parking lot at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington. Instead of having the hundreds of costumed kids and parents trample through mud and water on the hospital’s grounds, they figured things would be much drier on the pavement.
They didn’t plan for Olga’s wind.
A little after 4:00 Saturday morning, the wind arrived, toppling tents any anything else that wasn’t on the firmest of footing or well anchored down. At sunrise, workers were fishing all kinds of tenting, weights, posts, and other party equipment from one of the drainage ditches that was flowing with about two feet of water.
On what was supposed to be the tenth anniversary of Boo Fest, organizers had to throw in the towel and cancel it.
Boo Fest is one of the biggest Halloween parties for kids and their parents in the area. It includes a path that leads trick-or-treaters to a long line of miniature haunted houses. Sponsors donate money to build the haunted houses, many of which are very elaborate.
There’s also a costume contest for the kids.
All of the sponsorships and admission fees raise money for ACCESS Louisiana. ACCESS stands for the group’s mission of Adapting and Changing Children’s Environment with Successful Solutions.
ACCESS raises money for families who have children with disabilities to provide things like wheelchairs and vehicles that can carry them, equipment that is often not covered by insurance policies.
Doctor Aaron Karlin treats many of the kids and leads the charge to organize Boo Fest every year. To say he’s disappointed by the cancellation is an understatement. But he’s hoping people will hang on to everything they planned to use this year so that next year’s Boo Fest will be even bigger.
At the top of this page, you’ll see some photos of the damage that Dr. Karlin provided for WGNO as well as some of the cleanup pics take by our news team.