JACKSON TWP. Jessica Nettle and her two children got to Jackson Township’s South Park on Oct. 21 to stand in line before 6 p.m. to make sure they got a ride on this year’s Haunted Hayride.
All three of them waited patiently for a little more than an hour for the seven tractors pulling hay wagons to pull up and start loading. They were determined to ride this year.
"We came last year and the line was backed up to the woods and we didn’t even try to get on a wagon," Nettle said. "This year, we are determined to ride through the park and so we got here plenty early to make sure we could get on the first wagon."
If she would have turned around, she would have seen the line for this year’s hayride was wrapped around the concession stand, along the baseball fields and almost all the way back to the parking lot.
Park Supervisor Dave Ruwadi said township officials expected at least 3,000 people. With the warmer weather and with Ohio State having the Saturday off, people came out and were ready to get spooked.
Keya Williams and Olivia Palky, both 11 years old, said it was spooky and scary. They both had only one criticism. They said, "It was amazing, spooky and scary but it should have been longer."
All of the different scenes set up along the trail were made by volunteer scene coordinator, Jean Foster. The action scenes were performed by Jackson High School students and other volunteers.
"We probably have at least 40 volunteers this year including those driving the wagons," Ruwadi said.
Two of the Jackson Township Trustees, John Pizzino and Todd Hawke, drove tractors and Township Administrator Mike Vaccaro helped people off the of the wagons.
"With all seven wagons loaded, we can get around 200 people per trip," Pizzino said. "This is just a great family event. We see kids come out with their parents and their grandparents to ride through the haunted trail."
Screams could be heard throughout the evening coming from the direction of the haunted trail as people got off the wagons as others were getting on to test their own bravery. Carri Beiter and her son Nolan tried the hayride for the first time. They were both still excited when they got off their wagon.
"It was great and spooky, I got kind of scared," Nolan said.