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Museum, gift shop to sell themed memorabilia for visitors throughout the year

COURTESY PHOTO - The St. Helens City Council wears black beanies embroidered with the Spirit of Halloweentown logo on them. Beanies, t-shirts, coffee mugs and other items will be sold at a specialty gift shop and museum in the Masonic Lodge building on 1st Street in St. Helens.St. Helens is aiming to offer a Spirit of Halloweentown experience year-round by running a gift shop and museum inside the Masonic Lodge building in the city's historic Riverfront District.

The museum and gift shop, which will open this weekend, offers a variety of oddball items for visitors to check out, photo opportunities, and a place to purchase Spirit of Halloweentown memorabilia.

The idea is to give St. Helens visitors who are unable to attend the city's fall festivities a slice of the "Spirit of Halloweentown" experience, event coordinator Tina Curry and City Administrator John Walsh explained.

"When you literally have millions of interactions on our social media sites and hundreds of messages expressing the desire to visit outside the October timeframe, it seems silly not to figure out how to satisfy these families," Curry stated in a press release.

Last October, during the city's month-long Spirit of Halloweentown, event organizers and sponsors ran a special attraction called "The Museum of Peculiarities & Oddities" in the Masonic building ballroom. The museum generated several thousand dollars during the month when tens of thousands of visitors flocked to St. Helens to see celebrity guests and attend special events.

Late last year, the St. Helens City Council approved a $1,000 monthly lease with the Masonic Lodge to continue running the museum and gift shop.

During opening weekend, entrance to the museum will be free, but will afterward increase to $2, with free entrance for children five and under. A gift shop will also be set up in the building to sell t-shirts, beanies, coffee mugs and other memorabilia.

"The museum is a tongue in cheek experience to read about famous happenings in and around St. Helens as well as other fairy tale related stories with exhibits that correlate with each one," Curry noted in an email to the Spotlight. "It also houses the only original movie Halloweentown stained glass piece that was on the courthouse doors. There are many creatures with stories to be told that reside at the Museum."

Eventually, the city hopes to obtain museum sponsorships with the possibility of subleasing space in the building for other vendors, Walsh added.

The museum and gift shop will be open weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Masonic Building is located at 235 S. 1st Street.

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