Halloween mas

Cast members of the annual Halloween Hike at Pioneer Ridge go through a dry run and promotional dance Wednesday evening. This year's theme is Galapagos Islands, and performers will be dressed as characters such as Charles Darwin, iguanas, hammer-head sharks, a frigate bird, a sea lion, Sally lightfoot crab and a giant tortoise. Characters will be spaced around the nature center's concrete path with luminaries lighting the way, and each will give a presentation on their character. The event is family-friendly and runs 5-8 p.m. Oct. 9. Hikes leave every 15 minutes, with groups being limited to 10 to allow for social distancing. Masks are required, as are reservations. A freewill donation will be collected with money from the event going toward busing for school field trips to Pioneer Ridge and other Wapello County Conservation areas. Due to COVID-19, no games and refreshments will be available in the nature cnet this year. However, virtual components will be integrated into the event with organizers recording all the characters. Pictures will be set up along the trail with pictures and facts about the characters posted at the stations with a QR code for people to scan and view the video. That is expected to be available shortly after the live event. For reservations for a hike time, call 641-682-3091 or email pioneerridgehike@hotmail.com.

Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.