A hayride passes by fall colors at a past Sterling Frights Halloween event.

A hayride passes by fall colors at a past Sterling Frights Halloween event.

File photo by Deb Jacques

Sterling Frights, HarvestFest to bring fall fun

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 30, 2022


STERLING HEIGHTS — Families looking for ways to celebrate the best October has to offer may find themselves at home during a couple of upcoming events in Sterling Heights.

Sterling Heights’s official annual Halloween celebration, Sterling Frights Halloween, is coming back to Dodge Park Oct. 15. According to Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Supervisor Troy Nowotny, the family and children’s event promises candy, cider, doughnuts, costumed Halloween characters, a straw maze, hay rides, a DJ and more.

Nowotny said the city is making certain parts of the event bigger to accommodate more people and “alleviate some of those lines, so it’ll be a little more fun.” His examples included adding a few more carnival rides and having more candy.

“We’ve had really large crowds the last couple of years,” he said. “Last year, we had between 6,000 and 7,000 people.”

Nowotny added that Sterling Frights will also offer plenty of inflatable playscape activities, games and a craft area.

The week afterward, families may flock to Freedom Hill to check out the Macomb County HarvestFest Oct. 22-23.

HarvestFest organizer Carl Gianotti has previously been behind some drive-in movie events at Freedom Hill that ran during the COVID-19 pandemic. But he said this is the first time he has organized a fall-themed event at Freedom Hill.

He said he is “hoping for a couple thousand people” to attend, at the least.

“I guess I just wanted to provide a fun family event with safe trick-or-treating options and also a food drive tied into charity to benefit the community,” he said.

According to Gianotti, kids who attend the event may wear costumes, take part in trick-or-treating or play in the inflatables area. Families may also listen to music, see movies, get grub from food trucks and more. Other scheduled fall activities include hayrides, a pumpkin patch and the appearance of pro pumpkin carvers.

Gianotti said the HarvestFest event would also have stilt walkers, magic shows and people dressed as princess and superhero characters. Trick-or-treating stations will be run by sponsors and local businesses, he said.

“We’re hoping to have some sheriff vehicles out, but it depends on what’s going on around the county,” he added.

In addition, the event will hold a canned food drive at HarvestFest to help Gleaners Community Food Bank, and it’s inviting the public to drop off nonperishable protein items, Gianotti said.

The Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Department will hold its annual Sterling Frights Halloween event for families and kids ages 12 years old and younger 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 15 at Dodge Park, 40620 Utica Road in Sterling Heights. No registration is necessary. Learn more by visiting sterling-heights.net/calendar.aspx?EID=7783.

The Macomb County HarvestFest will take place noon-5 p.m. Oct. 22-23 at Freedom Hill County Park, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway in Sterling Heights. Trick-or-treating stations will open 12:30-2 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m.

Purchasing tickets online costs $8 per person, and children younger than 3 years old attend for free. Purchasing tickets at the gate the day of the event costs $12 per person. Active and retired members of the armed forces may attend for free by showing their military identification. Parking costs $5 per vehicle. The event will happen rain or shine, with no refunds.

To purchase tickets or to learn more about the event, visit macombcountyharvestfest.com/index.html.