WILLISTON The Catamount Family Center is undergoing a scary change, and families looking to add a little spice to the ritual of Halloween should get ready for outdoor theatre that has been described as unique and exciting.
For two weekends in October, the Williston recreational venue is hosting the famed Haunted Forest. Tickets are available now for the weekends of Oct. 18 and Oct. 26.
The event itself is 27 years old this year and it's been at the Catamount Family Center for the last six, said Jana Beagley.
She noted that before moving to Williston, the event was hosted by the Audobon Society in Huntington. After 20 seasons, the society didn't need it as a fundraiser anymore and the forests devoted volunteers decided that the event was to important to abandon.
We are now an independent 501(C)3 non-profit organization, continued Beagley.
The organization found a location for the forest at the beautiful Catamount Center, which is situated on 500 acres of beautiful wilderness, land that is kept open for people to experience the great outdoors, including cross country skiing and mountain biking.
Beagley said that a great deal of work goes into the organization and creation of the Haunted Forest.
One mile of Catamount's trails is lined with jack-o-lanterns, all carved by volunteers, and there are 600 to 800 pumpkins in all, said Beagley.
Also located along the trails are 11 Halloween themed vignettes authored by Vermonter Joe Citro, who has published several collections of New England Ghost Stories and poems. The Vermont Community Foundation established a grant through their arts endowment to help pay Citro for his work.
This has been a banner year for us, added Beagley. We have had an impressive fundraising campaign and we also computerized our volunteer functions.
Volunteers have helped to put up sets on the trails and throughout the woods at the Center, complete with props.
We also have 1000 pumpkins that we have to cover with hay every night, and this year we have a huge tent from the Vermont Tent Company so our patrons don't freeze, added Beagley. There were some major projects on the trails, workers laid down gravel on the parts of the trails that tended to get muddy. We got help from the Vermont Youth Corporation and the Long Trail Association. There were major improvements to the trail so if it rains they won't get nearly as muddy.
Tickets for the Haunted Forest are available at a flat rate of $12.50 for evening shows and $8.50 for matinees. Beagley said that the ticket prices are necessary for some fundraising needs.
The Haunted Forest also has an exclusive commercial, viewable at www.thehauntedforest.org, where patrons can also get information on ticket availability. WCAX is the media sponsor for the event.
On October 13, there will be pumpkin carving at the Catamount Family Center.