Fright, Terror and Halloween fun

By Dagney C. Ernest | Oct 17, 2018
Photo by: Jeffrey B. Roth This year’s Fright at the Fort, that fort being Fort Knox in Prospect, is inspired by the stories of Stephen King.

'Tis the season of ghoulish delights, and the Midcoast has a couple of great options for those who still like the idea of going out for a stroll to get their Halloween treats. Both are in full swing this weekend and next.

Fright at the Fort

The granddaddy of haunted houses is housed at the Fort Knox Historic Site, overlooking the Penobscot River in Prospect. It’s not that far from Bangor, whence this year’s edition gets its inspiration. The King of Horror theme refers, of course, to writer Stephen King, whose tales have fueled many a nightmare.

Not that Fort Knox needs much imagination to become a scary place. The massive granite fortification has been known to make its own fog and is filled with twists and turns and creepy atmosphere  — all of which will be amplified during Fright at the Fort. Actually, there’s an official warning this year in regard to amplification: anyone sensitive to an abundance of loud spooky sounds or frightening flashing strobes should be cautious.

This is the first Fright helmed by Dean Martin, the new director of the nonprofit Friends of Fort Knox, which uses the annual event as its biggest fundraiser of the year. There will be no fireworks this year, but lay the blame on politics.

“We've had to make that expense cut due to marketing being higher cost over last year with it being an election year,” Martin said.

Everyone is invited to contribute to the Halloween cause by attending Fright at the Fort in costume, with a few stipulations: costumes must be “tasteful,” in keeping with the family-members-of-all-ages event. They also must be safe and include no “weapons.” Prizes for best costumes will be awarded every night.

The remaining nights in question — the 2018 Fright opened Oct. 13 — are Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Parking and shuttle are free. Tickets at the fort each night are $10, $5 for those younger than 12. Advance purchase Express Line tickets, $13/$7, are available online via EventBrite, the Facebook event page or online at fortknoxmaine.com. Express Line ticketholders get to forgo the ticket-purchase lines.

Fright at the Fort proceeds help the Friends of Fort Knox fulfill its mission to restore Fort Knox and enhance its educational, cultural and economic value for the people of Maine. For more information, visit the website.

The Trail of Terror

For the third year in a row, the Union Fair Society is sponsoring a Halloween treat at the Union Fairgrounds, off Route 17. There have been a few tricks along the way — the premiere event had to change from a haunted house to a walking event, because of fire regulations; and last year saw pre-opening vandalism and, more destructive, a wind and rain storm that closed the event early (as well as cutting power to many a household, school and business).

But this third run should prove the charm, as volunteers from all around the area are working together to make the 2018 Trail of Terror a successful, scary and fun event for all. Spear's Farm in Waldoboro has contributed cornstalks for the midway maze; a Coast Guard family from the Rockland station is volunteering with design and scare actors; volunteers from the Union branch of Camden National Bank are on board; and the Warren Odd Fellows are selling food.

“We thank ahead of time all the Halloween groupies that support our efforts every year,” said Mike Drickey, fair coordinator with wife Sarah.

The Trail of Terror is open for its Nightmare at the Fair business Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27, plus Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 30 and 31, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost is $10. Children younger than 12 are admitted at parents’ discretion and must be accompanied by an adult.

In contrast to Fright at the Fort, costumes are not allowed on The Trail of Terror ... and there will indeed be fireworks. The event serves as a fundraiser for the annual Union Fair, which, locals will recall, had to cancel its fireworks this summer because of the weather. So they are scheduled for Halloween itself, beginning after the final Trail of Terror tour ends. For more information, check out the UFTrail of Terror Facebook page.

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Staff Profile

Dagney C. Ernest
A&E editor for Courier Publications, LLC
(207) 594-4401/4407, ext. 115
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Dagney has been providing Courier coverage of the local arts scene since 1985 and has helmed the multi-paper A&E section since it debuted in 2003. She has been a local performing artist, community and professional for more than 30 years; and spent a decade writing, producing and announcing on-air for several Midcoast radio stations. When not in the NewsNest, Dagney likes to be in motion.

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