JACKSON TWP. Unlike last year’s rain soaked and cool temperatures of the Jackson Haunted Hayride, this year’s event had dry and comfortable weather which brought out the crowds in the dark of night.
The annual hayride on Oct. 19 was the 28th year the event has been held for the Jackson community. There were spooky beings, ghosts and goblins lurking in South Park, but it did not stop a crowd of more than 3,000 who braved the haunted and fun night.
The line for rides basically filled the South Park area wrapping around to the woods, around the play area and behind the refreshment stand overflowing into the ball field. There was a lot of laughter as those waiting, anticipated the thrill ride through the haunted woods.
Tractors driven by local farmers and township trustees were pulling the hay wagons and waited in line as each filled with riders then filed one by one to the hauntings. The tractor drivers were Ohio Lazy L Ranch, Jim Halter Farms, Clardale Farms, Todd Hawke, John Pizzino and Anthony Pizzino.
According to volunteers, the event is something they can do to give back to the community. They enjoy watching the excitement on the kids’ faces as they get on the wagons.
Parks Maintenance and Grounds Foreman David Ruwadi has worked with the Parks Department for about 30 years and he praised those that help and volunteer their time to make the Halloween event for the community.
Ruwadi plans the event with help from Supervisor Mike Danner, “and lots of help from the schools and friends of the parks,” he said.
He thanked trustee John Pizzino and his son Anthony; Trustee Todd Hawke; Fiscal Officer/Economic Development Director Randy Gonzalez and his wife, Julie; Township Administrator Mike Vaccaro; Michelle Moore; township park employees, receptionists and all other volunteers. He said Jean Foster has been working with him on the event for the last eight years as the scene coordinator. The event takes at least 40 volunteers to make it work.
Also, scenes were provided by Craven Dance, Plymouth Street Group, Bell Family, Boy Scout Troop 1927, Jackson Fast pitch, JAGS, Roy Dria Horticulture, Doug Hill, Greg Brokaw Consumers National Bank, Jackson Baseball, Starlight School of Dance and Friends of the Park.
The event is open to all ages and there were the youngest of children as well as grandparents in line waiting for their ride.
Refreshments were available for purchase and, of course, there was candy. A fun time was had by all.