The the second year running, Andy Runer is the spooky winner.
His haunted house depiction of black on purple was the winning logo for this year’s Halloween Frolic logo contest, announced Kate Miller, Chamber board member and organizer of this contest.
Andy Runer, fourth- grade teacher at Hiawatha Elementary with a graphic design degree from Pittsburg State University, dabbles graphic design and art on the side, but his work is quickly becoming something of an icon for Hiawatha. Not only did he design last year’s “Nightmare on Oregon Street” logo, but also designed the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau logo as well.
This year’s theme is “When Fairy Tales Turn to Scary Tales,” and Runer’s logo features half of a “fairy-tale” themed house — much like what we would see on Hansel and Gretel with candy windows and lollipops and candy canes. The other half shows a haunted house with eerie eyes peeking through boarded up windows and a dead tree that with shutters that are old and weathered.
“I was very excited to have another attempt at designing Hiawatha’s Halloween Frolic logo,” Runer said. “This year’s design, like last year’s, started with focusing on the theme. I started to visualize what the words would look like as an image, and I knew I wanted to focus on the contrast of the words, fairy and scary.”
Runer said he immediately thought of the story of Hansel and Gretel and the witch’s gingerbread house.
“To contrast that I needed to create a creepy house that would offset all of that sweetness,” he said. “All of my designs, including this one, are drawn on my computer at home. Designs can take anywhere from a few minutes to as much as a few days to create. It’s an amazing and fun process!”
Runer started out in the field of graphic design with a Bachelor of Science in Arts degree from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg in 2004.
“I moved to Hiawatha shortly after and discovered that it is hard to be a successful graphic designer in a small town and also support a family,” he said. “I started to substitute teach, fell in love with teaching, and earned a second degree, a Bachelors of Science in Education, at Missouri Western State University. I have been teaching in Hiawatha for almost 10 years and I love it!”
Not too long ago, Runer decided to compliment the joy of teaching with using my graphic design skills and open a side business. He can now create unique designs that people can use in a variety of media, design and cut large decals for personal and business use, and even put those designs or various products like shirts, cups, banners, signs and more. Runer said he now has a Facebook page with his designs — www.facebook.com/runergraphics — for local residents to connect to his work and pick up some fresh designs for their projects.
“I’m looking forward to doing more business in Hiawatha and the surrounding area,” he said.
Kate Miller, Hiawatha Chamber board member and elementary school art instructor, headed up the contest and congratulated Runer on his second consecutive win. She is excited — for the logo contest, other new Frolic events this year and just Halloween in Hiawatha in general!
Runer’s winning logo will also be available for the rest of the community to enjoy — through the Chamber’s promotional material, on the Hiawatha Halloween Frolic Facebook page as well as on T-shirts that will be on sale for the 103rd event.
“Stay tuned for information on how you can order a T-shirt with the winning design to show your love for Halloween and our 103 long tradition,” Miller said.
The 2018 theme will be announced at the end of this year’s parade and Miller said she plans to launch right into the 2018 Logo Contest as well, to allow community members almost a full year to work on some awesome designs.
Miller encourages community members to stay in touch with Frolic events by checking the Hiawatha Halloween Frolic Facebook page. She said the Tweets and Facebook posts reached more than 3,000 people in six different countries.
Other Frolic events to look forward to include a Haunted House Decorating Contest, a Pet Costume Contest and much more.
The Chamber is also looking for business to donate their windows for area youth to paint. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Also, don’t forget to be thinking about your float entries for this year’s parades. Keep an eye on the Hiawatha Halloween Frolic Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts or contact the Hiawatha Chamber at 742-7136 or email@example.com for more information.