A hauntingly good time

Haunted Hayride helps raise funds for community nonprofits

Dressed in spooky clown costumes, Northern Michigan University students participate in the 2019 Haunted Hayride at the Marquette County Fairgrounds. This year’s event will be held from 7:30 to 11 p.m. today through Saturday. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit marquetteshauntedhayride.com. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE – When it comes to Halloween in Marquette County, few spooky traditions compare to the annual Haunted Hayride fundraiser. After a year’s hiatus due to COVID-19, the event is back and ready to scare those who attend.

The fundraiser will take place at the Marquette County Fairgrounds from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. today through Saturday. Tickets start at $10 for general admission. All proceeds raised will be split between the 14 volunteer groups.

This will be the hayride’s 13th year, but that doesn’t mean it will look the same as last time around. Event organizer Andi Goriesky said there will be all of the attractions attendees typically look forward to and some additions.

“We’re going to do the haunted hayride as we have always done it. Nothing has changed there,” she said. “It will be approximately 40 minutes long and there will be 14 groups that you’ll see as you drive past through the woods and the haunted barn that you walk through.

“We have plenty of new groups this year, which means new attractions this year. Plus we have a few new things that we haven’t had at the hayride before. We have horse-drawn carriage rides that are strictly kid friendly, so not scary at all so the focus is on the young children.

Since the nonprofits participating in the events get to design their own portion of the Haunted Hayride, those who attend the event will see a variety of spooky scenes such as an abandoned Area 51, seen above. (Photo courtesy of Andi Goriesky)

“Proceeds from the horse carriages will go toward the (Upper Peninsula) Children’s Museum. The escape room that’s in Marquette will also have an escape room game for those waiting in line for the main attractions. Otherwise, it’s going to be a typical haunted hayride full of scary sights.”

The hayride consists of volunteer groups from various community non-profits that are looking to raise funds for their causes. Many groups rely on the funds raised to finance things like school trips and team uniforms.

“People need that outlet because of COVID,” Goriesky said. “A lot of the nonprofit groups didn’t get to do this event last year and have missed out on other events, too. For example, some of the Girl Scouts haven’t been able to go on the trips they normally would because they didn’t have ways to raise funds for it.

“I think it’s important that we all get to be together and raise funds for things like school trips, uniforms or whatever else. It’s important that we’re doing this event again and I just want everyone to feel safe and comfortable.”

She urges those who haven’t attended before to come to be a part of the once-per-season event.

“If you haven’t attended, you absolutely should,” she said. “For one, it’s a great community event and it’s something that’s family friendly. Your whole family can go to this event and know that with your $10 you’re supporting a lot of local nonprofit groups. Just seeing them working together to create a project that they present to the community is rewarding. It’s always exciting to see the whole community come together.”

For more information about the Marquette Haunted Hayride or to purchase tickets, visit the website at marquetteshauntedhayride. com or call 906-361-4655.


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