Lagoon readies Frightmares! for spooked public

Sep 23 2011 - 5:54am

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(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)

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FARMINGTON -- The setting is a Gothic-looking London mansion where vampires, faceless victims and the devil himself reside.

"Nightwalk," a 3,600-square-foot walk-through that rates five spiders, is the latest haunt in Lagoon's Frightmares! family.

Frightmares! opens at 5 p.m. today. The Halloween-themed event, with seven walk-throughs -- two specifically designed for children -- is included in the Lagoon season passport. The walk-up cost for single admission is $43.95.

Frightmares! also offers rides, games and entertainment, including a musical show titled "Scream."

But it is Nightwalk -- set far back into the amusement park grounds, beyond the rides and between the trees -- that has park staff shuddering with excitement to reveal.

"This walk-through is definitely not for kids," Lagoon Vice President of Marketing Dick Andrew said while touring the attraction with the lights on.

Frightmares! Manager Anthony Mirocchi said his goal with the new walk-through is to scare people.

He said guests waiting to enter the mansion will see other park guests experience that fright on televisions showing hidden camera work within the attraction.

"This is very different," Mirocchi said of Nightwalk. "The design phase started in the summer. The construction of it didn't start until the first week of September."

Upon its completion, Nightwalk will offer a variety of rooms and special effects, with at least two live characters per room, including a full-costumed demon, Mirocchi said,

But Frightmares! isn't all trick and no treat.

The attraction also offers something for the kids with the return of the Spook-A-Boo and Scary & Crows Straw Maze.

"(It was) a tremendous amount of work -- and is good fun," Lagoon employee Megan Stenquist said in describing the straw maze.

Stenquist said what she enjoys most about putting such an attraction together is the creativity she gets to use in making "drastic changes" to the park.

"The thing about Frightmares! is that it is very labor intensive," Andrew said of the park transformation taking place over a two- to three-week period.

Weather permitting, about 100,000 patrons are expected to take in Lagoon's Frightmares! during its five-week run, Andrew said.

"(Frightmares!) is a big part of our season, big enough that the weather is crucial for us," he said. "There are a lot of people that prefer this to the regular season."

This year, Frightmares! is starting a little earlier, Andrew said, but that is only because of the way the calendar fell.

Frightmares! is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. The event also is open Oct. 20, when the Utah Education Association meets and students get the day off.

For a complete list of dates and times, visit www.lagoonpark.com.

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