Photo courtesy of John Crider
In an event described as part Carnivale and part Mardi Gras, HighBall Halloween aims to bring a new Halloween experience to Columbus Saturday.
HighBall is designed to showcase the creativity of Columbus’ Short North with eight hours of music, art and fashion. Celebrating its fifth year, the event is scheduled to be held from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday in front of the Columbus Convention Center.
Last year’s HighBall was located at Fifth Avenue and High Street, and Courtney Winnen, the internal communications coordinator for the Short North Alliance, said the new location on High Street between Goodale Street and Nationwide Boulevard will open up more possibilities for the event.
“The location change is huge for us because our stage will be bigger,” Winnen said. “The actual event is located in a two-block radius from 10,000 parking spaces, which is great.”
Winnen also said the new location will be able to accommodate a larger event.
“Each year the event grows,” Winnen said. “There are more designers taking the stage this year, and there will be a $1,000 cash prize for the winner of the Couture Showdown.”
The Costume Couture Showdown includes designers showcasing four pieces on a 75-foot-long runway, as well as a Couture Costume made originally for HighBall. The contest is presented by Abercrombie & Fitch and is judged by a panel of experts.
Betsy Stevenson, of Columbus’ Elizabeth Ashleigh Designs, is one of the designers participating in the Costume Couture Showdown.
“This is my first time designing for a show of this magnitude,” Stevens said. “I’m excited to show Columbus what I can do.”
Another Columbus-based designer scheduled to showcase his work at HighBall is Bryston Walters, who said he has been preparing for the event since June.
“I’m the only student designer this year, and I have a rather full schedule, so I really wanted to get a head start on everything,” Bryston said. “I am extremely excited for HighBall 2012. It’s the fifth anniversary of the event, and they’re definitely celebrating it in a big way. It’s events like this that truly make me love living in Columbus.”
Besides the Costume Couture Showdown, there will also be a public costume contest with the following categories: Most Brilliant, Best Transformation, Best Extreme Face Painting, Best Old School and Most Artistic. Winners of each category will receive a prize bag and the chance to compete for the grand prizes of $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third.
Mitch McGuire, a third-year in English and medieval studies, said he has been to HighBall in the past and plans to attend this year’s event as well.
“It’s always really fun, and there are always amazing costumes presented,” McGuire said.
Alexander Singer, a first-year in design, said she is also excited to attend HighBall.
“I’m very excited about HighBall,” Singer said. “I’m so glad that there’s an activity on High Street that’s accessible to everybody and that is fun.”
Tickets for HighBall Halloween are priced at $5 per guest and are available at any entry gate. Entry gates are located on High Street at Nationwide Boulevard, Goodale Street, Vine Street, Spruce Street and Swan Street.