PROSPECT —Fort Knox’s annual Halloween event ‘Fright at the Fort’ is listed as one of America’s Spookiest Halloween Attractions, and this year, Maine’s biggest haunted attraction is pulling out all of the stops for its 20th anniversary.
Last year, Dean L. Martin, took over as the new executive director following the untimely passing of Leon Seymour the founder of ‘Fright.’
In our story, Fright At The Fort carries on without founder ‘Halloween King’ Leon Seymour this year, Dean only had six weeks to put on the Stephen King-themed weekend events, something Seymour always wanted to see realized.
“We’ve done a number of themes throughout the years, most recently, honing in more on Maine themes, but for our 20th anniversary, we’re going to be bringing back some of the best props, actors and decorations from the ‘greatest hits’ so to speak,” said Martin. “We’ve got ‘Out Of This World,’ alien theme, ‘Water Over The Damn,’ which are underwater graves, ‘Pet Sematary,’ and clowns from the movie ‘IT’. We’ll also have ‘What’s Bugging You?,’ the theme of all things creepy crawly, the ‘Zombie Apocalypse, and much more.”
Martin has taken his role with this event seriously and said he has even more surprises up his sleeve. For example, the corn maze, a regular feature within the spooky chamber of the Fort will be more elaborate this year.
“Instead of going through a U-shaped corn maze, we’ve configured it different, where there will be more twists and turns as though it is a real maze,” he said.
Another return will be The Pig Butcher.
“Fans of this animatronic will be pleased that we are bringing him back,” he said. “But he won’t be in the same place. We’re going to mix it up. “
Last year, rumors that Stephen King was planning to attend drew an unprecedented number of people to Fort Knox.
“We did some ads on WKIT, which is a Stephen King radio station and many people took that to mean that Stephen King was actually sponsoring the event. But, of course, he wasn’t.”
Still, the rumor didn’t hurt attendance.
“We broke all records with 15,050 people coming through on all five nights last year,” said Martin, noting that their previous record in 2015, was 10,000 people going through.
“The night of October 20 last year, we had 5,000 people come through, which stopped traffic in both directions for about five miles and two hours.”
Most of the people coming through are Mainers from all over the state.
All proceeds go toward Fort Knox’s operations, conversation and preservation costs throughout the year. Breaking even with netting about $100,000 from ticket sales has allowed Martin and the board of Fort Knox to tackle a roof repair badly needed for roughly the same amount of money. “The whole reason we put Fright at the Fort on is to raise money to maintain the Fort,” he said. “But we’ve also allotted a certain amount to the budget to invest in new props and decorations to keep it fresh. ”
The dates for Fright at the Fort are October 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Gates close at 8:45 so come early. Tickets sold at the door are $12 for adults and $6 for ages under 12. Advance Express Tickets $15 adults, $7.50 for under 12. Express Tickets allow brave Fright Fans to skip the line to begin their tour.
Related: The ghoulish underbelly of Fright at the Fort
Related: The Freak Show is going to scare you silly
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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