Fairview Tree Farms haunted hayride, AKA Legends of Fear, keeps riding on.
The popular Halloween site, located at 2 Saw Mill City Road, celebrates its 20th season. Owner Brad Wells commented on creating the seasonal attraction.
“Back in the early nineties my wife and I loved Halloween, and we knew that agricultural tourism was going to be important to the farm to help the farm grow,” Wells said. “After attending seminars, I was pretty confident that I wanted to do some form of nighttime hayride.”
Wells said they have really grown over the years. The hayrides started Columbus Day weekend with 35 actors, running five wagons; now they run up to eleven tractors, 11 hay wagons, and they have 150 employees for the Halloween season, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 30. This Oct. 9 they will donate 25 percent of proceeds to Make a Wish Foundation.
The farm was originally a dairy farm started by Well’s great, great grandfather Lucius Hubbell in 1842. The Hubbell family married the Fair family (not Fear, which is what the hayride evokes). The farm was later named Fair Farm after his grandfather who took over the farm. Wells later named it Fairview when he took over in to grow Christmas Trees.
This year, the haunted hayride is over a mile long and over 30 minutes. It has 70 actors for the ride and 75 for the Mellor Head Revenge trail.
The walking trail is in its third year for operating and is nearly two thirds of a mile long, which can take up to 45 minutes to complete.
The hayride visits 22 stations and stops at three of the stations the ghoulish actors board the wagons, visiting patrons. On the hayride trail, riders will see hillbillies, farmers, psychos, werewolves, witches and wackos with hatchets.
During the Melon Head Revenge trail, actors perform thirty skits with very close contact. They loom very close to visitors or hide in the darkness behind trees, hang on buildings, and lurk behind corners.
Aside from the hayride and Melon Head Revenge trail, half the fun is looking at the decorations throughout the farm, during night and daytime. Handmade skeletons near the hayride doorway, ghouls, pumpkins, black cats, witches, and more. Many of the Halloween attractions are made by Wells and his wife, Trish, and their staff.
Wells said they have attended national conventions over the years to learn haunt training and to obtain lighting, electronics and, and props.
However, safety is a priority at the farm.
“We have attended a lot of safety classes because to run this safely at night, with the amount of actors we have, safety is our utmost priority,”Wells said.
Recently, Wells made a replica of an 1860 horse drawn hearst. It was made with Home Depot products and farm hardware. There is a replica of a 19 century casket inside made of pine from the farm.
In the 20 seasons of the haunted hayrides, a few memorable events have happened. Wells said several people have met while working at the attraction, dated, married and now live in Shelton. There have even been proposals during the rides.
Season attendance has really increased, attracting up to 1,000 people on the busiest nights closer to Halloween, Wells said. He expects over 10,000 visitors this season, many coming from out of Connecticut.
Wells invited the Shelton Herald to come along on a hayride and to walk the Melon Head Revenge trail. A hayride and hike through darkness, while ghouls and ghastly creatures shock visitors along the path. Who can turn that down?
Teens came in small groups, laughing and anticipating the adventure. They reached out to say hello to Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street or Jason from Halloween. Other ghouls walked around. Riley Immel, age 13, said it was his first year and he came for the hayride because he thought it would be cool.
Chuck and Keller Deley from Easton brought their daughter Madeline to celebrate her 13 birthday. The Deley’s said they like the atmosphere of and Halloween spirit, the woods, and charm of the season.
Madeline brought her three friends: Gwendolyn Kavic, Chloe Rocendaal, Isabel Llach. They sat together waiting patiently as the hayride departed down the pine trail. Soon the woods became very dark and there was also fake smog. Actors portraying the army warned the wagon not to go into the woods. Demented people ran also ran out and warned the riders not to go in. Witches appeared, skits with an electric chair, and hillbillies popped in, out and around the hayride.
There’s a reason ten year-old and above. It is a bit gory.
Then someone sent in the clowns.There were clowns, up close and very creepy. As the ride continued, the girls screamed and delighted in their fright. Sometimes it would get very dark and a frightful person would be near the hayride or standing right near a rider.
It truly was a ride to startle and tingle teens. When it was over, the girls went off to finish celebrating Madeline’s birthday.
Next was Melon Head Revenge Trail. A security guard near the trail wanted the Shelton Herald reporter to go alone. Even Kochak from “The Night Stalker” wouldn’t have braved that adventure.
However, four 14 year-old girls, Anna Mvozik, Veronica Kania, Cami Heinz, and Elisa Hasaj, went along on the trail. The security guards told all the girls that their straight hair will be curly when they come out; the girls played along.
The trail opens into darkness. There are caverns, walkways, mazes and lots of dark areas. The girls walked arm-and- arm down the trail while maniacs with buzz saws and hatchets ran out. Wacky women and demented people laced the forest. There were still more small demented cabins, twisted rooms with scary mirrors, and scary dolls.
When it was over, Elisa said it was pretty scary. Anna said she liked it, but she enjoyed the hayride more. Incidentally, Cami Heinz said she was celebrating her 14th birthday that night.
Also, Happy Birthday Madeline Deley and Cami Heinz. Thank you, girls, for allowing the Shelton Herald to tag along during your frightfully good birthday celebration.
For more information about Legends of Fear go to www.http/legendsoffear.com.