The Walking Dead Freak Show
By Bailey Hovland
It’s dark. You’re walking through the entrance to the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds, hairs tingling on the back of your neck at any shadow that shifts in the cold fall breeze, any rustle of the fallen leaves in the dark of the night. The fairgrounds have been emptied of the carnival rides and exhibits and people from the county fair, creating an eerie and desolate scene. You approach the Exhibit 2 Building, mentally preparing yourself for what lies ahead. A few people mill around the front of the building, and you can’t tell if they’re friendly or fearsome. This is what you’ve been waiting to see: the Walking Dead Freak Show.
The Willmar Nite Lions hosts a haunted house every year, with a different theme that allows them to scare visitors in new ways year after year. This year, the theme is a riff off the popular AMC show “The Walking Dead.” That means you’ll be seeing zombies, monsters, and more than a few mysterious characters that will fit you with fright. Once you step onto the fairgrounds, you’ll begin seeing a few scary characters lingering in the shadows, waiting for the perfect opportunity to get a good scream from an unsuspecting visitor.
The Willmar Nite Lions is a relatively new group in Willmar, and their goal is to collect donations and raise money for charity while giving people a hearty dose of fear. They work all through the year prepping for the next haunted house, dedicating themselves to creating yet another event that thrill seekers around the area can enjoy.
In years past visitors have been chased by chainsaws, encountered mysterious butchers, and found themselves in the midst of bloodied and battered characters that seem to have an interesting story to tell. The little shop (or building) of horrors has amputated limbs, ghastly eyeballs, and so much more to keep you on your toes as you creep through the different rooms of terror. Visitors come back year after year to see what features have been added to the haunted house, looking for new exhibits to give them a reason to scream and shout.
Tickets are $12 at the door. And, in the spirit of giving back to the community, the Willmar Nite Lions offers a $2 discount for bringing a food shelf donation, shoes, or glasses. Wednesday, October 31 is the last day of the Walking Dead Freak Show, open from 6:00-10:00 p.m. It’ll be the ideal way to celebrate Halloween if you (or your kids) have outgrown the trick-or-treating stage and need a little something more to get the adrenaline pumping. So come on out to the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds this Halloween for a terrifyingly good time. Willmar’s very own army of the undead is waiting for you.
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