The Halloween Reverse Parade
Even though Trattoria Centrale is only a couple of blocks away on 20th Street, the area doesn't get near the evening foot traffic that we get on 2nd Avenue. When the Trattoria owners were picking a location for El Barrio, they sought out 2nd Avenue specifically to take advantage the vibrant night life. Events and festivals such as Artwalk have brought visitors into the area and made them realize downtown Birmingham is a safe and fun place to live and visit. A resident population that has grown during a down housing market, and the number of visitors that now see downtown as a destination, have made 2nd Avenue a place that restaurants like El Barrio want to locate.
One of my favorite 2nd Avenue festivals lacks a name. I've called it the Halloween Reverse Parade. I've heard people refer to it as the Drive-Through Haunted House. I think the reason I enjoy it so much is that although it doesn't have a name and isn't organized by anyone, it has been happening for 40 years. People from all over Birmingham show up to 2nd Avenue on Halloween night dressed in masks and costumes. Others drive down 2nd with their kids in the backseat. As traffic builds up the drivers roll down their windows so the monsters can run up to the cars and give the kids a little scare. The cars make the block and go through the haunted "house" a few times. It's wild and it's fun and it's not like anything I've ever seen anywhere else.
Some of us locals sit on the patio of the Metro Bar to watch the spectacle and scream encouragement (some to the kids, but admittedly some to the monsters). In the picture below you can see some of the early traffic, and an Evil Clown approaching a car full of kids. I apologize for not taking more pictures but I was having too much fun hooting and hollering.