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Spooktacular Spirits At Haunted Hayride
The field of screams site had these spooky scarecrows ready to greet guests during the Haunted Hayride. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS
People had to watch out for zombies that were wandering Jacob Myers Park during the Haunted Hayride on Friday and Saturday night. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS
Guests had an option to purchase a pumpkin and decorate it as a newly added activity at this year’s Haunted Hayride event held at Jacob Myers Park this past weekend. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Brave souls experienced the Haunted Hayride this past weekend that sends people through a variety of scare sites at Jacob Myers Park. Everyone was in spooktacular spirits as the trailers made their way through the trails. This has been an annual event for several years that the City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation department has organized, depending quite a bit on volunteers.

“Attendance was great,” stated Sue Fitzpatrick, Parks and Recreation Director. “I would guess there was around 700 people each night that went through. We had to stop selling tickets Saturday night as we sold out.”

With five trailers traveling through the park, each trip had a volunteer guide like Vice Mayor Darlene Barber Martinez and Councilmember Leanne Jones Cruz.

Newly added to the event this year was a scarecrow competition and pumpkin patch, which had small pumpkins that could be decorated as well as an area to take a few pictures. Modesto Feed donated the hay bales that made a sitting area for folks to grab a picture while they were standing in line.

“Home Depot and Dutch Hollow helped us with the pumpkins,” stated Julia Petit, Parks and Recreation Supervisor. “About 40 pumpkins were painted and taken home. We also had a few youngsters with messy hands on the trailer, but didn’t mind at all.”

Three organizations, the Historical Society, the Women’s Club, and the Teen Center participated in the scarecrow contest that was also new this year that creatively made a scarecrow to represent them. They were on display for guests to view and vote on.

“I thought they turned out great,” added Petit. “We tallied up about 70 votes over at the Pumpkin Painting tent and by the end of the two nights, the Historical Society scarecrow had the most votes.”

With only eight scare sites this year and approximately 50 to 60 volunteers the Haunted Hayride was not as big as it has been in the past, however, the trails were well traveled. The trailers were about five minutes apart, according to Petit, and both nights ended around 9:45 p.m.

“Julia and all the parks and rec staff did a great job,” added Fitzpatrick. “We are hoping to have more volunteers next year but those we had did great.”