The Halloween Capitol of the World
In 1920, the city of Anoka, Minnesota began holding a yearly Halloween parade to distract pranksters from causing havok on Halloween.They claim it was the very first Halloween parade ever staged. Some also claim it was the first place in the US to celebrate Halloween together as a community. Over the years the parade led to further celebration in the month of October. This in turn led to Anoka being declared the "Halloween Capitol of the World" by the US Congress in 1937. To this day, the city of Anoka holds a large number of Halloween-themed events in the month of October.
The events held in October in Anoka include parades, costume contests, a marathon, wine-tastings, costume parties, pumpkin-carving contests, concerts, haunted attractions, fireworks, pumpkin pie bake-offs, home decorating contests and more. Check their web site, listed below, for details on Halloween events.
Great Fire of 1884
On August 16, 1884 a horrible fire swept through Anoka. A total of 86 buildings were destroyed. A loss of more than $646,000 in property was reported at the time; an extremely huge sum in 1884. The fire broke out in a skating rink behind the post office. A breeze quickly spread the flames to other businesses and the entire block was on fire by the time firemen arrived on the scene. The fire continued to spread across streets, catching more and more buildings on fire. Restaurants, stores, the high school, residences, a bank, an opera house, a stable, a blacksmith shop, an engine house, the local jail, two hotels and a few mills were among the buildings destroyed in the fire. Luckily nobody was killed in the fire and injuries were minimal.
The city of Anoka has a number of locations that are said to be haunted. Among them is Billy's Bar and Grill, said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman. It was also the scene of Anoka's first murder. The county's historical society offers a ghost tour on certain scheduled days from the month of May through the month of October. Check the web site listed below for details.