As the sun set and clouds rolled in, allowing the moon to peer in to Jacob Myers Park from time to time in Riverbank for the spirited Haunted Hayride this past weekend, several guests gathered to witness the ominous scare sites that depicted the scary movie theme.
The City of Riverbank has hosted the event for the past few years which includes several volunteers, a couple meetings, creativity, and whole lot of fun. Haunted Hayride ran both Friday and Saturday nights, Oct. 23 and 24.
There were over 20 scare sites this year at the event featuring theatrical details ranging from costumes to lighting, smoke, audio, video and acting. With approximately 82 volunteers working, some were at the scare sites and several others along with City Staff manned the trailers to tag along with the guests or were busy driving the trucks, working the ticket table, or the snack bar. Everyone assisted in making the Haunted Hayride a success.
“The hayride went very well,” stated Parks and Rec Director Sue Fitzpatrick. “We had more community involvement than ever.
“Without all the volunteers and their hard work, we would not be able to make this happen.”
The two-night event drew thousands of people from youngsters, tweens, teens, and families that braved the ride through the woods viewing scare sites like The Ring, Pet Cemetery, Day of the Dead, Beetlejuice, Silent Hill, Jeepers Creepers, Scream, Ghostbusters, The Purge and many more.
“We had more sites this year and scarier,” added city staff member, Juanita Argumedo. “Ticket sales were higher this year.”
There were several trucks with trailers taking folks through the scare sites. In one case, a local youngster was sitting on her own initially but halfway through the ride decided the seat on her father’s lap worked much better.
Other participants were said to be trying to figure out which movie was being depicted as well as compliments and comparisons on attractions at Dell’Osso farms and a haunted house in Santa Cruz.
“Friday night when the trailers returned they all clapped,” said Parks and Rec Supervisor Kerrie Webb. “Crowds were very steady both days.”
There were other participants that portrayed ghostly characters like La Llorona in Spanish, also known as the weeping woman that is said to wander around canals and rivers crying for her missing children and the very stiff characters found at Scarecrow Alley that started moving unexpectedly.
The creepy clowns around the bend put the scare in their site as well as other horror scenes featuring Annabelle, Chucky, and Freddy Kruger.
“The volunteers were fantastic,” stated Webb. “Each site was done very professionally.
“The volunteers are what make this event happen.”
Along the trail there was also a sign that said Bates Motel and luckily there was no vacancy, however, the famous shower scene was a treat for the guests.
The Rotary Club, Boy Scouts, businesses downtown, Riverbank Youth Baseball and Softball, several families, members from the Riverbank High School Drama Club, high school students, Kiwanis Club and the city staff participated in the scare sites this year making for a very festive and fun, yet horror-filled hayride.
“The city staff all did great too,” expressed Fitzpatrick. “I was very happy with how the event went this year. Many people commented that it was one of the best yet.”