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Kitsap: Haunted Fairgrounds = Ghoulish good time

Steven Jones, playing the part of a gate keeper, walks through the vortex tunnel at this year’s Haunted Fairgrounds.  - Jesse Beals/staff photo
Steven Jones, playing the part of a gate keeper, walks through the vortex tunnel at this year’s Haunted Fairgrounds.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

Even though she’s been creating haunted houses for many years, Haunted Fairgrounds Co-coordinator Marilyn Jones said it never ceases to amaze her how big it’s gotten.

“It’s insane,” she said. “It’s totally insane. It always amazes me that people will pay you to scare them.”

The sixth annual event, which kicked off yesterday at the Kitsap Fairgrounds, is making this year’s event the biggest yet, thanks to 100 volunteers contributing 3,000 man-hours to set it up at a cost of $48,000.

New to this year’s event is the “Last Ride” located at the ticket booth where people can lay in a coffin and get a taste of what it’s like to be buried alive — complete with sound effects.

Also new is the Dance Gallery, a troupe of 17 dancers who will perform for those waiting in line at the Van Zee Food Circus building.

Jones said the group, of which her niece is a member, is “pumped” to perform at the event.

Also being set up in the Van Zee building is the “Metal Maze” where ticket holders get put through a steel cage maze complete with strobelights and music to set the mood for the evening.

From there, groups of 10-15 will be let into the sheep barn by Jones to be subjected to the “Portal of Terror,” this year’s theme.

There will be no guide this year, so eventgoers will be on their own as they use a “time machine,” a.k.a. the elevator that was used for last year’s “Sinister Memorial Hospital,” to be sent through the “Ages of Agony.”

They will travel through different time periods such as the Wild West, ancient Egypt, the Salem Witch Trials and several other frightening places.

In all, 14 rooms are available for those to be scared in.

Navigating the halls will be no easy task either, as many terrifying surprises wait for those who make their way through.

James Tubberville, Jones’ brother, estimates they’ll have 70 to 80 actors working each night to scare people.

He said he felt that while other haunted houses have animatronics, their place stands out because of the actors who work at the haunted house.

“An animatronic can’t pick out the guinea pig of the group to scare,” he said.

The vortex machine returns as well. People can view it through 3-D glasses, which make the designs painted on the tunnel stand out.

Jones said their trip to the Transworld Haunt & Attraction trade show in Las Vegas in March was extremely beneficial to them. Thanks to the workshops, they came up with new ideas and purchased several new items at the show.

Jones said part of the proceeds will be set aside to provide the cat barn with an overhead sprinkler system.

“We’re really proud that it makes such a good profit that we can put it back in the Parks and Rec Department,” she said.

The house is open Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 31-Nov. 1. The lights will be on from 5 to 6 p.m. for the younger crowd (The experience is rated PG-13, but Jones strongly encourages “skittish” people and families with young children to attend at this time). The lights are then turned off from 6 to 11 p.m.

General admission tickets are $10 and VIP passes are $20, enabling buyers to go through twice and avoid any lines.

Those who bring in a canned food donation for local food banks will get $1 off.

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