- Two men seriously hurt in crash near Fruitland (9/21/16)3
- Perryville man arrested for alleged patronizing prostitution, harassment (9/23/16)6
- Eldorado Resorts to buy Isle of Capri Casinos (9/20/16)7
- Community helps Jackson family with two cases of muscular dystrophy (9/19/16)
- Video and evidence largely confirm trooper's claims in April traffic stop shooting (9/23/16)7
- Cape man may lose eye after shovel beating, police say (9/25/16)2
- Funeral procession of former Cape Girardeau police chief Henry H. Gerecke (9/22/16)17
- Cape man accused of attacking pregnant girlfriend (9/22/16)
- Show Me Center upgrades may allow facility to draw more elaborate shows (9/21/16)17
- Man convicted of Perryville convenience-store heist (9/21/16)
NYC Halloween parade: Melodrama on a shoestring
NEW YORK -- There will be fewer floats and puppets and less music along New York's Village Halloween Parade route this year.
But despite the stumbling economy, organizers remained determined to make the famously outlandish event bigger and better than ever.
Due to cuts in funding and sponsors, there'll be seven floats, down from about 20. Street lights will suffice for the previous years' expensive illumination.
Organizers normally commission 10 artists to make "giant visuals" such as puppets. But not this year, organizers said.
None of the movie and record companies are sponsors this year in contrast to last year, the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," when Sony was a sponsor, organizers said.
Still, Jeanne Fleming, who's been the artistic and producing director for the past 29 years, said the parade is about more than money.
"There's a civic responsibility we have that goes much further than money," Fleming said. "It adds to the city's cultural and imaginative life. We did the parade seven weeks after 9/11 on $22,000. We took care of the spirits. That's our job. We have to do our job whether we have the money or not."
"When you have a New York City tradition," Fleming continued, "that means as much to the city as this does spiritually, creatively, financially, you don't just say, 'We don't have the money, we're closing up the shop.'"
If the parade were to be canceled, Fleming predicted, the city's restaurants, clubs, and subway system would lose millions of dollars in revenue. Worse, she said, the city "would lose its reputation." Which is maybe why NYC & Company, the city's tourism arm, donated $5,000 to the parade, according to Fleming.
Fleming, who said she's not being paid for her work this year, emphasized that the parade is a "true cultural phenomenon of America" that expresses New Yorkers' creativity and what's on their minds through costumes. It's not, she said, a business.
The economic challenge has compelled many artists to pull together to make the parade happen, she said.
Some bands and other artists, for example, are offering their services for a smaller fee, she said.
While some sponsors have pulled out, others have cut back. For example, The Village Voice is sponsoring one float, down from two, Fleming said.
And Fleming believes timing is on the parade's side this year. Halloween falls on a Saturday, and in tough economic times people are always in search of free entertainment.
"The costumes are going to be great because people will have all day Saturday to work on their costumes," she said. "They're going to stay out late. It's just we don't have any money."