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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Haunted Forest repopulated for weekend romp

  • The Coleman Tri-County Services trailer of horrors opened up at Ridgway Park Monday and the monsters are slowly creeping out to find their hiding spots for the Ridgway Haunted Forest crowds.
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  • The Coleman Tri-County Services trailer of horrors opened up at Ridgway Park Monday and the monsters are slowly creeping out to find their hiding spots for the Ridgway Haunted Forest crowds.
    The beasts are let out into the Haunted Forest 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday to have their frightful fun and help raise money for Coleman Tri-County Services. The event — now in its 21st year — funds the Coleman Tri-County Agency Dance, Christmas Party, Annual Banquet and craft supplies for the clients.
    The going was slow Tuesday as rain kept the client volunteers indoors. Becky McCoy of Coleman Tri-County was getting some of the monsters dressed up for the weekend.
    "I'm just getting the dummies out. It's the first time I've worked with them," McCoy said, primping a witch doll.
    Under a mysterious black bag taped shut was a mound of scarecrows for a new attraction this year.
    "We're going to have a haunted corn field," McCoy said.
    Clients have helped piece the scarecrows together, stapling burlap clothing together or drilling the feet to a platform base.
    "Norris City (Coleman Tri-County clients) was making us some eyeballs," she said.
    Rain is a concern, but it has not interrupted the Haunted Forest in the past.
    "We've been pretty lucky. We always have rain during the week. One year it sprinkled on Friday and one year we even had snow flurries Saturday night," McCoy said.
    McCoy believes crowds will be impressed with the Butcher Shop features this year.
    The Vampire Family provided by the David Gangard family of Eldorado will be back. They have participated for about 10 years.
    "He made his own coffin, then his little girl wanted one, so he made her a coffin," McCoy said.
    The Waiman and Cindy Winters family will be scary clowns, roles they have taken on for about five years. Last year they had the movie "It" showing as they entertained the crowd.
    The main rule of the Haunted Forest is everyone must stay in their vehicles or on their haywagons for safety.
    The cost is $6 per vehicle and $12 for hayrides. The lines are often long, sometimes stretched out to the highway.
    "Waiting in line is a big thing," McCoy said.
    "Some people tell me it's just as much fun to sit in line."
    People can order food while in line and enjoy a carnivalesque atmosphere as the anticipation builds.
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