LORAIN COUNTY

Lorain County Metro Parks staff won't let COVID-19 scare them from putting on a reimagined version of their spooktacular Halloween Fair the next two weekends.

This year's “Boo Thru” permits families to drive along a trail at Carlisle Reservation Center Equestrian Center, 13630 Diagonal Road, LaGrange. Cost is $10 per vehicle. Reservations are required because only so many vehicles will be allowed through at designated times. The event will take place Friday through Sunday and Oct. 23-25.

Family-friendly witches, ghosts, goblins and lighted pumpkins from prior years will magically appear in the new venue. Being added this year is a UFO crash site. A pirate ship, not seen in recent Halloween Fairs, has been updated and should also intrigue crowds, according to Metro Parks Public Information Officer Mariah Deitz. She said the new venue provided more spaces to decorate and scenes to design. “I think people will be presently surprised at what they see.”

In the past, the event has attracted up to 6,000 individuals each of the six nights of the fair. Deitz said they expect to reach similar attendance numbers this year because cars will have four, possibly more, riders apiece.

In addition to changing from a walking venue to a drive-through event, 50 to 100 full- and part-time or seasonal staff are tasked with preparing all aspects of the big event without the usual help of Metro Parks volunteers or outside groups like Girl Scouts. Deitz said it's an “all hands on deck” effort with staff coming in from across the park system to help.

As envisioned, the experience will last 30 minutes. Deitz said staff are doing test runs with their own vehicles to time things out. She added that no buses, RVs or other large vehicles are permitted because the trail is too narrow to accommodate them and their height would interfere with tree branches and decorations hanging from trees.

She stressed that the event is family-friendly. “There will be nothing grotesque,” she said.

Anyone concerned for anyone in their vehicle should keep their windows closed because this will let actors and staff know to tone it down for them and not approach their vehicle, she said. Plus, closed windows will block noises made by actors or coming from various haunted features along the trail.

Those interested will have to register for a specific time – and must bring a receipt with them – to ensure there are no traffic backups. The only public bathroom near the site is inside the park at the beginning of the trail, Deitz said. When the trail ends, cars are directed outside of the park onto local roads.

To register or for more information, visit loraincountymetroparks.com/halloween, call 440-458-5121 from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. weekdays or email PR@loraincountymetroparks.com.

Contact freelance writer Michele Murphy at avonlakemurphy@gmail.com.

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