Festivals, Haunted Houses To Offer Spirited Fun - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Festivals, Haunted Houses To Offer Spirited Fun

October 8th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Festivals, Haunted Houses To Offer Spirited Fun
Family Fun

By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

Children and adults who are eager to get their hands on pumpkins and taste the flavors of fall in food-filled festivals or step into spooky houses for some Halloween chills have lots of places to explore in Chandler and the East Valley.

Festivals and farms with pie-eating competitions, corn shucking, hay rides, pumpkin decorating, as well as paid and free haunted houses will be open this month and next month with entertainment for everyone from the littlest visitor to older adults.

The venues offer festive places for families to gather for free or little money and enjoy cooler outdoor temperatures.

Here is a look at some of the attractions:

• A Taste Of Greece Greek Food Festival: Get ready to say “Opa!” at this celebration that has brought people together for more than 30 years at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 2716 N. Dobson Road in Chandler. The festival continues with traditional Greek foods, Greek imports, live Greek music, folk dancing, a kids’ fun zone and other entertainment. The event continues from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today (Oct. 6) and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 7. Information: www.st-katherine.org.

• Arizona Harvest Fest & Farmers Market: Fall festivities and shopping combine at this big gathering in downtown Chandler. It takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. Visitors can get an early start on Christmas shopping when they buy from the more than 100 merchants, who will be selling produce at a farmers market, as well as gourmet food, clothes, home furnishings, jewelry, art, home improvement goods and health and wellness services. Children can engage in lots of games and other activities including a pumpkin toss, pumpkin pageant (where they decorate pumpkins), corn shucking contest, pie-eating competition, cornhole and a cake walk. Adults can try different, local pumpkin ales and seasonal brews. Everyone can listen to and watch live entertainment.

“These are kind of traditional Midwest fall festival games,” said Jen Pruett, public relations director for the HDE Agency. “That’s the vibe I was going for. It’s really a fun day for everybody in the family.”

HDE Agency, an integrated multi-media agency focused on expanding client visibility and setting up marketable brand positioning, is producing Harvest Fest. A percentage of the proceeds from the Arizona Harvest Fest will benefit the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership (DCCP), a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to mobilize leadership and resources to advance the development

of downtown Chandler as a regional destination for dining, shopping, living, culture and the arts.

Information: arizonaharvestfest.com.

• Schnepf Farms: The well-known, longtime family entertainment destination continues its Pumpkin & Chili Party every Thursday through Sunday through Oct. 28 at Schnepf Farms, 24610 S. Rittenhouse Road in Queen Creek. The festivities take place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. The theme this year is “heroes,” and the “Celebrity Corn Maze” will feature a maze shaped like the late Pat Tillman, an Arizona Cardinals football player who left his NFL career to join the U.S. Army. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Part of the “Celebrity Corn Maze” will also be the design of a grandmother reading to a child and another corner will reveal a teacher, as grandparents and teachers are also heroes. A four-acre corn maze will have shapes of Schnepf Farms’ corporate partners’ logos.

Some new attractions to Schnepf Farms this year are an extreme inflatable area and an enhanced BMX and skateboard show, as well as two stages with live entertainment and a DJ spinning tunes to rock the ride area. Amusement rides, bonfires, marshmallow roasting, pig races, miniature golf, a dog show and fireworks some nights will also be part of the Pumpkin and Chili Party. Another new treat this year will be the Mac N Cheese Bar with a large bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese with various toppings customers can choose.

Schnepf Farms offers a variety of seasonal foods for visitors including a chili dinner: a bowl of chili, grilled corn on the cob, homemade corn bread, a fudge Oreo brownie and a drink for $13 and a bowl of succotash: sweet onions, peppers, sweet corn, garden squash, okra and potatoes grilled on custom griddles for $11 (with chicken is an extra $3).

Visitors can also pay extra, $5 at night for the “spooky night” train and $3 for daytime train rides at Schnepf Farms.

Admission to Schnepf Farms for the Pumpkin & Chili Party is $20 per person or $15 if purchased at Fry’s Food Stores. Admission is free for children under 2 years old. Military personnel can get in for free through Oct. 7, as well as from Oct. 11 through 14 and Oct. 25 through 29 if they show a military ID at the farms. Police officers can get in free Oct. 11 through 14 at the Pumpkin & Chili Party if they show their badge number. Those who serve as a firefighter or hotshot can get in free from Oct. 25 through 28 when they present ID. Grandparents can buy one ticket and get one free when they show a photo of their grandchildren every Friday. Teachers who book their field trips in October at Schnepf Farms can get in free. Family members of military members, police officers and firefighters and hotshots can get discounted-price tickets at Fry’s Food Stores. Information: schnepffarms.com.

• Mother Nature’s Farm: The Pumpkin Patch is open daily through Oct. 31 at this family-owned farm on property originally purchased by Sam and Edie Kelsall in 1968. Folks can visit the Pumpkin Patch from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 1 through 30 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 31 at the farm at 1663 E. Baseline Road in Gilbert. It costs $10 per child and adults are $5 each to accompany kids. Admission includes an OZ pumpkin, a bag of stickers, pumpkin decorating, an air bounce, a hay ride, a spider web crawl made of rope that kids can play on, feeding the animals and Alexander’s Adventure Maze. Visitors can eat lunch at picnic tables and children can run around the spacious grounds. Food is available to purchase including hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. Information: mothernaturesfarm.com.

• Vertuccio Farms: The Corn Maze & Fall Festival is continuing through Nov. 4. It is being held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays at the farms at 4011 S. Power Road in Mesa. Admission includes navigating a seven-acre corn maze, playing mini-golf, going on a mule-pulled wagon ride (Saturdays and Sundays until sunset only), playing on a giant jump pad, soaring on a mini zipline, engaging in pumpkin bowling, seeing animals, accessing a new pallet maze, taking a “new and improved” one-barrel train ride and other attractions. The festival costs $10 per person and is free for those 2 years old and younger. Information: vertucciofarms.com.

Haunted Houses and other spooky attractions:

• Fright Zone: A family provides Halloween fun at their home for free. The music, creepy creatures, haunted maze, graveyard and other chilling entertainment is available for the public to visit from 7 to 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night this month, except on Halloween, when it’s open from 6 to 10 p.m. at the house at 11148 E. Villa Park Drive in Chandler.

“It’s a blast,” said David Foster, who runs Fright Zone with his wife and two children. “It’s been growing every year.”

Foster said the Halloween house is family-friendly and not too scary for little ones. About 1,000 people showed up throughout the time it was open last year. He enjoys setting it up with his wife, Mary; daughter, Corinne; and son, Ryan.

Information: frightzoneaz.com.

• Zombie Warz: Thrill seekers can enjoy shooting with paintball guns at zombies, who do not shoot back. Participants travel in “zombie assault vehicles” for about half an hour. The gruesome male and female zombies move around with various backdrops and a military man feeds customers more paintballs if they need them and assists with technical issues. It runs Friday and Saturday nights through Nov. 3. The first truck heads out to attack zombies after 7 p.m. and the last one for the night goes before 10 p.m. at the corner of South Maricopa and Koli Road in the Chandler area. Tickets cost $25 each (with 100 paintballs included) if purchased online. Tickets bought at the ticket window at Zombie Warz are $29 each (including 100 paintballs). Active and retired military members or first responders can get tickets for $20 each (with 100 paintballs included).

“It’s a lot of fun,” co-owner of Zombie Warz Risa Parke said. “It’s crazy.”

Information: zombiewarzaz.com.

• The Crypt Haunted Attractions: Visitors can get spooked at three scary setups in one location. The Crypt, The Asylum and Chaos Maze offer different types of terror. The Crypt is filled with creatures and people that do not understand they are dead, and each year they return and choose some new guests to “join them in their dance of the dead,” The Crypt website said. The Asylum storyline is that a doctor subjected patients to shocking experiments, converting them into homicidal nutcases until he fell victim to his own failures. Chaos Maze offers mayhem and terror at every twist and turn. The Crypt Haunted Attractions is open Oct. 6 through 7, Oct. 10 through 14, Oct. 17 through 21, and Oct. 24 through 31 at 1445 W. Southern Ave., Mesa. Fridays and Saturdays it is open from 7 p.m. to midnight, other days it is open from 7 to 10 p.m. and on Halloween it is open from 7 to 11 p.m. Admission costs $25 for all three houses or $18 for just one of the two main haunts, and $8 for just the Chaos Maze. Information: hauntedaz.com.