Colby Haunted Trail Donates Over $4,000 Back to Community

Left: The entrance of the Colby Haunted Trail. Right: Matt Oehmichen (Right) hands a check to IDEA Foundation executive board member Connie Gurtner (Left).

COLBY, WI (OnFocus) – After a smashing success of a haunted trail that saw over 700 people head through the Colby School Forest, the organizers of the Colby Haunted Trail have donated that money back to the Colby community.

Matthew Oehmichen, founder of the Hornet’s Nest, decided to bring back the Haunted Trail after he remembered going through the trail as a kid. The trail was a mainstay in Colby but after time, it was disbanded.

Then, in 2019, Oehmichen decided it was time for the trail to come back and begin scaring people again. When asked what his motivation for bringing the trail back was, he said his wife gave him the final push to get it going.

“When I moved back to Colby in 2014 and I had heard that the Haunted Trail hadn’t been around for a long time, I was kicking starting it back up around year after year,” Oehmichen said. “It was my wife who said in 2018, ‘Why don’t you just do it? Why would you wait for somebody else to do it when you can just take it and do it?’ She kind of gave me the kick in the pants that I needed.”

Oehmichen said his favorite part of the event was seeing the joy that volunteers were bringing to each other and to the participants.

“It was just such a thrill to see everyone having fun that was volunteering,” Oehmichen said. “As groups were rolling through, they were either laughing or screaming and everybody was just enjoying it. It was really cool to see the outpouring of help I got especially from the Colby Choir.”

All in all, around 50 volunteers helped scare, set up and facilitate the trail. Thirty of those 50 came from the Colby Choir when Matt needed them most.

Colby Choir members came in droves to help Matt put the Haunted Trail on.

“We were at a point where it was 6 p.m. (the event was scheduled to start at 7 p.m.) and I was getting so stressed out and there was so much we had to get done,” Oehmichen said. “All of a sudden, 30 kids showed up and you didn’t have to give them a lot of direction. They took such an initiative. It was outstanding to see how many people participated and it was maximum effort from those kids. I can’t thank those choir kids and Ms. Carmen Wells enough.”

The trail ultimately brought in between 700 and 800 participants according to Oehmichen’s estimations. They also raised over $4,200 and 600 non-perishable food items to be donated to C.U.P. Food Pantry.

The money raised was donated to three entities with the Colby High School Choir raising $2,000, the IDEA Foundation received $1,000 and over $1,200 went to the Colby Booster Club which helps fund Colby athletics.

Oehmichen said the enthusiasm and excitement that the volunteers brought to the table really made the trail a success.

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Neal Hogden
Author: Neal Hogden