COLBY, WI (OnFocus) – The re-inaugurated Haunted Trail is coming to Colby, a city known for the Colby Hornets, the famous Wisconsin cheese, and now for it’s famed haunted school forest.
After a stellar opening night on Saturday, Oct. 23, the Haunted Trail will return for its final night of the 2021 season on Saturday, Oct. 30. Admission for the second night of terrors is $10 with a dollar being taken off for every food item brought, up to $5.
The Haunted Trail was brought back in 2019 after 15 years of absence by Colby alumni and creator of The Hornet’s Nest, Matthew Oehmichen.
“To set up the trail following the cross country race was a major challenge,” Oehmichen said. “I couldn’t have anything moved into the woods until the meet was done, and I was the announcer! There was only five of us and we got one-third of a mile worth of trail set up.”
The first night of the Haunted Trail brought in 80 percent of the total people they saw in 2019. Oehmichen said it was their highest attendance in a single night ever.
A hearty crew of volunteers makes it all possible as they help set up, take down, and facilitate the trail which is located in the Colby School Forest.
“Even though it was stressful to get it all ready, after seeing the crowd that showed up on our first night, I realized it was completely worth it,” Oehmichen said. “The crew of volunteers makes the difference because they are having so much fun being a part of a community like this, and that enthusiasm enhances the trail for the patrons.”
Oehmichen said it’s about more than providing a venue for patrons to get their Halloween fix, it’s about providing a sense of community.
“I made this to be a venue where leaders, students, staff, and alumni can interact and have fun with our community and others,” Oehmichen said. “But also for community members to make an impact by donating/fundraising for a rural community.”
Proceeds go towards the Colby Hornet Booster Club, the IDEA foundation, and the Colby Choir. To receive a discount on admission you can donate a non-perishable food item to get $1 off per item, up to $5 total, that will go toward C.U.P. (a local food pantry).
On the first night of the event, over 250 food items were donated.
Oehmichen said the first night of the event was a success in scaring the participants.
“People were startled so bad they were falling over, and we had young boys crying in fright,” Oehmichen said. “We had to stop a few times were we had to stop because people were dropping their keys and cell phones because they were running in terror. We are not a professional set up but they experienced things you would never see on a trail.”
The C.U.P. Food Pantry is looking for any non-perishable food items but have had many requests for instant oatmeal and have run out of that.
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