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A new haunting hayride

Event taking place weekends through Halloween

 

CLARKS GROVE — While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused too many event cancellations to name throughout 2020, one area event is being added.

Josh and Kiersten Cornelius have always been into Halloween and everything that comes with the holiday. Josh Cornelius said he has talked to the Harmony Park owners over the past three years about setting up a Halloween event at the park, but that the timing just hasn’t worked out. With the pandemic shutting down so many events this year, Cornelius said it seemed like the right time, and thus the Harmony Haunted Hayride was born.

“We’re doing it,” he said. “There’s nothing else going on.”

The Corneliuses and their good friends Bruce and Brenda Jensen, all of Maple Island, have organized the hayride. Josh Cornelius said they’ve been working on components for the ride in his shop for weeks.

Volunteers acting in different scenes along the hayride have a multitude of costumes to choose from, or are welcome to bring their own. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

The hayride started last weekend at the park, 79503 298th St. in Clarks Grove. The rides take place Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. The first rides start at 7 p.m. each night, with the last ones leaving around 9:45 p.m. On Halloween, the last rides will leave around 10:45 p.m. Depending on the driver, rides usually last anywhere from 28 to 35 minutes, Cornelius said. Those attending will remain in the wagon during the ride, and wagons will be spaced out. Social distancing will be expected and face masks will be required when social distancing isn’t possible. Hand sanitizer will be available at the park, and those attending will be required to sign COVID waivers as they enter. Admission for the rides is $15 per person. Only cash will be accepted, and tickets will only be sold at the gate; not online. Same-night second rides can be purchased for $5 per person. While there is no age requirement for the event, it has been designed for mature audiences. All dates are weather permitting, and Cornelius said it would have to be continuously pouring rain for the event to shut down; last weekend’s light rain and Friday’s light snow flurries won’t stop the hayride, he said.

In addition to the hayride, the food court area of the park will have food and a full bar with concessions for sale. Live music is also planned for Halloween night.

The number of volunteers performing for the hayride varies depending on the night, Cornelius said, with the range last weekend being anywhere from 18 to 32 volunteers. He expects an especially good turnout for Halloween weekend, of both volunteers and attendees. The actors are positioned at different stops along the hayride’s route, and he said everything from clowns, scarecrows and zombies to butchers and campsite horror scenes have been depicted so far.

It’s Cornelius’ hope that the event can become an annual tradition.

“Come out and check it out, especially if you like Halloween,” he said.

 

If you go:

What: Harmony Haunted Hayride

When: rides leave from 7 to 9:45 p.m. Oct. 23, 24 and 30, and from 7 to 10:45 p.m. Oct. 31

Where: Harmony Park, 79503 298th St. in Clarks Grove

How much: $15 cash per person; same-night second rides are $5 per person

 

The organizers hope the hayride can become an annual tradition. Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

 

About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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