Lubbock, Texas (AP) It’s been a long, cold winter for some in the city of 1.6 million.
But not so for the Lone Star State’s most popular tourist attraction.
Lubbocks annual Halloween parade ended Tuesday with more than 500,000 revelers.
“The most unfortunate day in Texas” has always been a celebration of the state, but the city has seen an uptick in crime in recent years, as well as increased violence by gangs, according to a report from the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“Our biggest crime rate has always come from out of state, and now it’s coming back,” said city manager Kevin Haddad.
“I think this is one of the best things to happen to Lubbocker in a long time.”
Haddd said the city’s mayor, Bill Smith, who has been a longtime opponent of the parade, has been encouraging people to wear costumes.
The city also has held an open house to get people to come out and participate.
Smith told The Associated Press he hopes to continue the event this year.
Haddaad said he has no doubt that people will come out for the parade.
“We don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” he said.
“If people are going to come, we want to have a good time and celebrate our history.”
Huddleston police Sgt. Paul Hildenbrink said a “large” crowd showed up to celebrate the event on Monday night, with some 200 people.
That was a significant turnout, Hildens said.
He added that the department was aware of a string of shootings this summer.
Hildenberg Police Chief Tom Lohner said police were working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to try and prevent the festival from being disrupted by a possible terrorist threat.
The chief said his department was not involved in any investigations and that they were investigating all reports of vandalism.
Lohners police have been working closely with Lubbocans on security issues during the festival.
He said he hoped the city could find a solution to the festival’s security issues.
Huddeleston Police Chief Thomas Hilds said the department’s top priority is the safety of the citizens, and there were no concerns that this year’s event was compromised.
“It’s been the largest event of its kind in Lubbochuck for decades,” Hildleston Mayor Ron Gilden said.
Hohneville police said they were looking into the possibility of an incident.
“No one’s in danger, but obviously there’s been some incidents,” Hohning said.
The festival began in 1939 and was held every year in downtown Lubbook.
The parade includes a costume contest, music, food and children’s activities, as many as 500 people are expected to attend.
Heddels is the son of a former mayor.
He served as city manager in the 1980s, but lost his job in 2001.
He also served as an adviser to Gov.
Rick Perry in the 2016 gubernatorial race.
He is a member of the board of directors of the Lubbancamp, a non-profit organization.