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Jaycees turn Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds into a haunted house

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
October 12, 2007

A visit to the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds will be a frightening experience this month.


The bard that houses poultry during the Rock County 4-H Fair is being transformed into a haunted house by the Janesville Jaycees.


The journey of fear will send Halloween enthusiasts through a ghoulish cemetery before entering the house of horrors, said Tom Clayton of the Janesville Jaycees.


Those brave enough to venture through the blood-chilling rooms will find themselves trapped in a maze just when they think they’ve found their way to safety, he said.


The Jaycees are screaming with excitement that they’re again able to host their annual fund-raiser at the fairgrounds.


“It is a prime location in the middle of town. We were there in 2005. We’re glad to be back there and hopefully will be there for a couple years to come,” said Clayton, haunted house chairman.


Clayton contacted Randy Thompson of the UW Extension in September asking if the Rock County Agriculture and Extension Education Committee would allow the organization to rent a portion of the fairgrounds.


“The committee and myself had some concerns on the past rental agreement,’’ Thompson said.


The committee discussed problems in 2005 with the Jaycees cleaning up and removing their materials and equipment in a timely fashion.


In light of that experience, the committee voted to charge the Jaycees $4,000 plus conditions that the Jaycees:


-- Clean up and leave facilities in the same condition they found them.


-- Remove their equipment and materials from the fairgrounds on or before Nov. 15.


-- Pay a $1,000 deposit that is refundable if conditions are met.


“If they don’t meet the Nov. 15 agreed upon deadline, that $1,000 is forfeited,” Thompson said.


The $4,000 must be paid in two installments—half by Oct. 18 and the rest by Oct. 22, Thompson said.


Last year, the club couldn’t afford $3,500 rent and a $1,500 security deposit for the fairgrounds. Instead, they held their haunted house at the Back Bar Warehouse on Beloit Avenue.


Clayton said the organization’s finances are in better shape this year.


“We downscaled our Fourth of July festival and spent less money with money for the fireworks from (Jim) Halbach. That put us ahead a little bit. We broke even rather than losing thousands of dollars,” he said.


“It’s totally feasible that after the haunted house is over, the Jaycees will be debt free,” Clayton said. “It’s a good step forward to having a good 2008 year for the chapter.’’


SCARY OPTIONS


The Janesville Jaycees are offering two frightening options for the Halloween season.


Haunted Train Ride

When: 2 to 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 13-14, 20-21, and 27-28.


Where: Thresherman’s Park, Highway 51 between Janesville and Edgerton.


Cost: Ages 2 and younger, free; ages 3 to 5, $4; ages 6 and older, $6.


Details: The antique, coal-burning train, which can seat up to 80 passengers in its two cars, leaves every 20 minutes. The last ride leaves at 7 p.m. It is appropriate for all ages. The 15-minute ride takes Halloween enthusiasts through haunted woods, a graveyard, a fright-filled town with zombies, children of the corn, witches and chainsaw monsters plus more ghoulish creatures.


Others activities: A concession stand that will sell hot cider, hot cocoa, hot dogs, baked treats and other goodies. Trick or Treat Safety Days is Saturday, Oct. 27.


For more details: Call (608) 921-0866 or e-mail JanesvilleJaycees@charter.net


Haunted House

Caution: Not recommended for children younger than 8


When: 7 to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; 7 to 10 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays, Oct. 19-31, with the exception of Halloween night, when the house will be open until midnight.


Where: Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave., Janesville. Enter off Memorial Drive.


Cost: $7


Details: Halloween enthusiasts will journey through a ghoulish cemetery and a nightmarish house with blood-chilling rooms—mazes and torture chambers—plus hallways littered with horrifying ghouls and monsters.


Other activities: Indoor lobby with a video arcade, horror movies and concessions.


For more details: Call (608) 921-0866 or e-mail JanesvilleJaycees@charter.net



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