Ghosts set for a walk in the park … after dark

Published 8:48 am Friday, October 17, 2014


Halloween is fast approaching, and with it are scary stories, ghoulish decorations, historic tales and, perhaps, a piece or two of candy.
Carter County’s state parks will get into the act, with “Scary Stories at Fort Watauga” and “Halloween in the Campground.”
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area will host the Scary Stories event Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m.
This year’s fright will be at a new site; in the past, the scary tales were told at the Carter Mansion. However, this year the Halloween event will be held at Sycamore Shoals at the old fort down by the river.
The family fun event will feature tales of woe and terror, the weird and macabre, with a touch of wit thrown in for good measure.
Roan Mountain State Park will feature “Halloween in the Campground” on Saturday, Oct. 25.
Campers are urged to decorate their campsite for the evening. The event, from 6 to 9 p.m., will feature trick or treating, haunted hayrides, a bonfire and food.
But the state parks aren’t the only homes for haints this Halloween.
Downtown will gain an especially eerie air on Oct. 23 and Nov. 1, when the Front Porch Storytellers present their Historic Ghost Walks.
The Thursday, Oct. 23, walk and the Saturday, Nov. 1, event begin at 7:30 p.m. starting at the Bonnie Kate Theater. The walk will center in downtown Elizabethton and will share both spooky and historical stories about the downtown district.
The Front Porch Storytellers is made up of Chad Bogart and Mary Jane Kennedy.
The duo has been involved in storytelling for six years and frequently involved in activities at Sycamore Shoals Historic Park. The Front Porch Storytellers is a private endeavor by the group and is not affiliated with the park.
Kennedy said the tales told during the walk include some spooky stories and also some historic tales about the downtown area. She said the group did six months of research before starting the Ghost Walks and new stories have been added to the ones from last year.
“We were told by some history buffs that we told them stories they didn’t know about,” she said. “As we have had the walks, we learn more stories each year from the people who come out. They tell us about their personal experiences.”
Kennedy said not all of the stories would be considered scary. Some are more historically focused, she said, while others are humorous. Some stories will focus on individuals while others will be more about specific buildings or landmarks.
“We combine the history of the building, the people with interesting, mysterious stories,” Kennedy said. “People come away learning something about Elizabethton they didn’t know before.”
Kennedy said she had a few favorites that would be shared during the walks. One is centered on the Covered Bridge and another tells the story of a former downtown employee.
“I don’t want to spoil the stories,” Kennedy said. “We have such an amazing history. We love it. There are laughs as well as chills.”
The tour is recommended for people age 10 and up, and the group size is limited to 20 people. The cost of the Ghost Walks is $12 per person. All veterans and senior citizens age 55 and up will be admitted for $10 per person. Walks are expected to last around 90 minutes.
Because the groups are limited to 20 people, Kennedy recommends those who are interested sign up quickly. After a group is filled, additional names will be put on a waiting list. However, the next date for another walk hasn’t been set.
To sign up for the Ghost Walk, call Kennedy at 542-9360.
After that, it will be time for ghosts, goblins and other creatures to take over downtown during the annual Trick or Treating on Halloween from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Businesses will be offering candy treats to costumed children.
Also, the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library and the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department will partner with the DBA to host a Halloween Block Party on Armed Forces Drive with inflatables and candy.

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