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ScreamFest returns to haunt Cordova Ridge

Fundraiser runs Thursday and Friday night at Claremont
It’s a scream! Claremont secondary students Myles German (Grade 12), left, Santiago Pena (Grade 10), top right, and Lauren Poppitt (Grade 10), right, express concern as a giant spider - new to Claremont - attempts to devour Jordan Vearer (Grade 10). The four are among dozens of students who are volunteering to set up the third annual ScreamFest at Claremont, Oct. 25 & 26, from 6 to 9 p.m. Travis Paterson/News Staff

The third annual ScreamFest returns to Claremont and it’s a … well, a scream.

This year’s event runs Thursday and Friday night, Oct. 25 and 26.

“It will follow the what we did the last two years but it’s bigger and better with a lot more students helping out,” said teacher Phil Ohl, a sponsor and one of the many coordinators of the event.

The event draws as many as 700 per night, and can handle even more with a bump in volunteers and overall size this year.

Grade 10 Claremont student Lauren Poppitt first experienced ScreamFest as a student at Lochside elementary, where it started, and has seen it graduate to Royal Oak middle school and now Claremont.

She began volunteering to stage it at Royal Oak and is helping again this year.

READ MORE: ScreamFest expected to scare up 1,400 at Claremont school

“It is a lot of fun, I remember it from Lochside and it’s a lot bigger now,” Poppitt said. “My job will be to help set up when all the trucks come. There’s a lot of trucks coming next week.”

Not only are all four feeder schools invited, Royal Oak middle, Lochside, Prospect Lake and Cordova Bay elementary schools are also selling tickets themselves as they can each keep half of the $10 for their own fundraisers.

ScreamFest consists of a Haunted House, a midway with games and a food concession.

The Haunted House is so well-produced it’s broken into a “spooky” hour from 6 to 7 p.m. for the local elementary-aged kids followed by a “scary” theme until 9 p.m., Ohl said.

“During the early hour no one is jumping out at you, the lights are on. But come 7 to 7:30 is a transition time and then the Haunted House gets real. The creepy clowns come out and the lights go down.”

The Haunted House is a walk through that zigs through three rooms including the ‘catacombs’ of the Ridge Theatre.

Drama and performance students dressed in costumes go all-in so beware, Ohl said.

“It all happens very quickly, there’s high-level, high budget sets and great make-up.”

The big gym, meanwhile, is filled with midway games including a vortex tunnel, a dunk tank, and more.

Tickets are $10 (or $30 for a family of four) and come with five game coupons with more coupons available for purchase inside.

“There will be big prizes,” Ohl said. “Prize coupons are earned in the midway to enter into a draw for a flat screen television and other prizes (still to be determined). There’s quite a few nice things to win.”

There will also be a full concession with an army of undead cooks grilling on the Jenner auto dealership’s Grillverado, so families can come and eat them, er, there.

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