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Halloween Arrives Early At Jacob Myers Park
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Maybe portraying the twins from the movie “The Shining,” these two were among the scenes to see along the Haunted Hay Ride last weekend. Trailers loaded with passengers cruised the walking path at the rear of Jacob Myers Park. Volunteers provided the decorations and actors on the theme “Zombie Escape,” while vying for prizes based on the popular vote from those who had taken the ride, on Friday and Saturday nights. Ric McGinnis/The News

Area residents were able to celebrate the Halloween season a little bit early this past weekend in Riverbank. Specifically, the spot to observe the holiday was Jacob Myers Park, with a trip on the Haunted Hay Ride there.

The Friday and Saturday evening event, Oct. 20 and 21, saw crowds of enthusiasts line up to ride on wagons pulled along the walking trail at the west end of the park. The wagons held 16 passengers each and were pulled by City of Riverbank pickup trucks, and looped around the trail and returned to the main parking lot, where viewers were invited to vote for their favorite scare site.

Four of the scenes were designed and populated by volunteers, eligible for the vote, according to officials, while several others were presented by city staff members, and thus, disqualified from the actual competition.

The winner was to receive $300, while second place was $100 and third place was to receive $50. The event was presented by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Riverbank.

The Haunted Hay Ride returned to the schedule this year after taking off 2022. Recreation Department officials decided last year that the Hay Ride and the Dia de las Muertos Celebration were so close together that they might not be able to find enough volunteers to present both events, so they dropped the Hay Ride.

This year, the ‘Dia’ observance has been moved back a couple of weeks, to Friday, Nov. 3, so both have been scheduled. That event is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Plaza del Rio Park, on Third Street in downtown Riverbank.

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This green ghoul stands guard at one of the scare stations at the weekend’s Haunted Hay Ride in Jacob Myers Park, put on through the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. The scare stations around the walking path at the west end of the park were designed and populated by volunteers who worked to the theme “Zombie Escape.” Ric McGinnis/The News
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The crowd of people lining up at Jacob Myers Park prepare for first rides on the Haunted Hay Ride there on Friday evening, Oct. 20. They were to ride in trailers pulled by city pickup trucks back around the walking trail in the rear of the park, encountering participants in the many scare sites along the way. Ric McGinnis/The News