A new ‘Nightmare’ comes to Beaver Lake

October 5, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Watch out, Jason Voorhees is coming to Sammamish this Halloween.

He won’t necessarily be wielding a knife or jumping out of the bushes donning the infamous hockey mask, but the actor who played him in the 1986 movie “Jason Lives,” C.J. Graham, will be at the eighth annual Nightmare at Beaver Lake Oct. 28 and 29, according to event organizers.

Curt Madden, owner of Scare Productions, works on assembling the spinning vortex at Beaver Lake Park Sept. 28 in preparation for the Nightmare at Beaver Lake Oct. 20-31. Photo by Christopher Huber

What organizers have called the largest Halloween haunt production west of the Mississippi opens Oct. 20 and runs through Halloween night at Beaver Lake Park. Scare Productions puts on the event, which is the Rotary Club of Sammamish’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from ticket sales and 20 percent of proceeds from photos with Graham will benefit Rotary’s numerous scholarship funds and local and international giving programs.

“The proof will be in the pudding, but I have high expectations,” said Curt Madden, head of Scare Productions.

Madden and a small team have been working for months to redesign this year’s ‘Nightmare,’ which will feature some recognizable features, but plenty of new frights, buildings and themes.

The 2011 theme is “we know what scares you.” Whereas last year’s visitors entered the haunt through a rabbit hole and wandered through Alice’s creepy, twisted wonderland, in 2011, they may be taken back to a time of werewolves and Frankenstein.

Visitors should also prepare to face some of their phobias, as the approximately 120 actors each night are training extra to master their spooking skills, said Dana Young, a lead organizer for the event.

During the approximately 20-minute meander through a dark park, visitors will pass through three more stations than the in 2010 haunt.

Among the returning favorites will be the spinning vortex. Having been used for three years, the trebuchet was decommissioned for the 2011 ‘Nightmare,’ Madden said. The catapult now sits in his front yard in Des Moines, with a sign that reads, “will siege for beer,” he joked.

Young and Madden noted haunt-goers will enjoy less distance between sets and more frequent frights.

Organizers said they still need volunteers to act in the haunt, as well as to help with support (security, crowd control, make-up artists, etc.) and food donation. Nightmare at Beaver Lake requires up to 200 people per night in order to run smoothly. And they need to be fed, too, Young said.

To volunteer meals, services or time, go to www.friendsofsammamishrotary.org.

Tickets cost $8 per person for the family scare hour. Admittance to Full Scare hours on Friday or Saturday is $15 and on Sunday through Thursday is $12. Parking is free and the main entrance is at the Beaver Lake Park ballfields entrance. Event goers will receive $1 off their ticket price if they donate a can of food. You can also buy tickets by clicking the Etix link near the bottom of the page at www.nightmareatbeaverlake.com/general/general.htm. Contact Dellann Elliott, at dellann@chriselliottfund.org for more information.

Nightmare at Beaver Lake schedule

The annual haunt runs from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 20 and 23; from 7-11 Oct. 21 and 22. Closed Oct. 24 and 25. Open again 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26 and 27; 7-11 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29 and 7-10 Oct. 30 and 31, Halloween. The first 45 minutes nightly is family hour, a little less intense experience for younger visitors.

Reporter Christopher Huber can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com.

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