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Haunted Hayride Falls Victim To Elements
Rain fell on the Halloween Haunted Hayride on Friday night but it didn't stop people from lining up for the annual venture into the woods of Jacob Myers Park and a chance to enjoy the terror.

Despite the drizzle, close to 300 people took the ride before the wagons stopped rolling about 9 p.m. on Friday night, said Riverbank Recreation Supervisor Kerrie Webb. Because of continuing rain, however, the scheduled repeat on Saturday was cancelled before its start. Last year's event drew 500 people each night.

The volunteers who dream up and people the shadows with scenes of gore and horror are really imaginative in setting the stage, organizers noted, and energetic in their play-acting.

As 'curtain time' drew near on Friday, the chain saws revved and the actors practiced their screams while waiting for the arrival of the first wagons of innocents.

A graveyard with a coffin holding a corpse that wouldn't stay dead and kept throwing open the lid was the first scene in which a group of ghouls burst out of the shadows at intervals to drag another victim toward the coffin.

Half a dozen students from Cardozo Middle School, headed by Alexis Avila in the coffin, took credit for this scene.

Also staged was an ultra light airplane accident, the craft supposed to have crashed among the trees, injuring or killing both its occupants and a rescue crew recognizable by their yellow hard hats approaching in the gloom.

The ultra light was a real one, minus its engine, said its owner Mike Anderson of Escalon, who used to run a local business teaching ultra light flying. He still flies for fun, often with his daughter Brooke who was playing the part of the pilot in the cockpit while another "body" lay under the fuselage.

Students of Scott Pettit's Black Belt Academy for karate instruction made up the members of the pseudo emergency services team rushing to the rescue.

Just up the road within a candle-lit tent, "a zombie bride" clad in a white but bloodstained wedding dress waved a sword over a recumbent male figure.

He refused to marry her. So she cut off his arm and then his head, Shirley Smallwood explained of the scene. The zombie bride was portrayed by her 12-year-old granddaughter Danielle of Modesto.

They came on the haunted hayride last year, she added, and Danielle was so intrigued she insisted on being part of a scary scene this time. The only problem with that is they missed taking the hayride and seeing the other scenes.

And despite the rain-shortened event, officials said the hayride was well received by those that were able to attend.