(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- After about a 10-year hiatus, the Sikeston Jaycees are bringing spooky back.
The Sikeston Jaycee Haunted Hayride will run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo Grounds.
Sikeston Jaycee Chris Deen, chairman of the event, said timing was just right to once again offer the event that was a staple among community Halloween entertainment for so many years.
"Helping our own community is what we're all about," Deen said. "We wanted to bring something back we haven't had in a while, and it's time for it. It's time for it to come back."
Deen admitted he didn't know why the event stopped years ago, and he wasn't sure how long it was offered before that. He does know the community is ready for its return.
"A couple of the elder Jaycees thought we should bring it back, and there's so much interest in this event and within the club," Deen said.
Visitors to the event will enter through the main gate at the rodeo grounds. From there, they will go through an area set up to frighten wanderers in the entertainment barn.
"They'll walk through a couple different rooms set up there. When they leave there, they'll load onto a trailer pulled by tractor and go through the actual walkways of the rodeo ground," Deen said.
Overall, the ride will cover about four-tenths of a mile, Deen said.
Not wanting to give too much away, Deen said the Jaycees are creating their own scary walk through area and about six other scenes for the ride's trail. The Kenny Rogers Children's Center and Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce are working together to set up a scary scene, and a group of Boy Scouts are also creating a scene for the tour.
"Most places -- for the most part -- are going to be child friendly. There might be a couple of areas a small child might have issues with, but we've got a plan set up for that," Deen said, adding anyone who gets scared will be walked by a guide back to the start, where they can wait for their group to finish the tour.
When the ride is over, visitors will be dropped back off in front of the entertainment building, Deen said.
"It's been a big undertaking -- any new project like this is going to be," Deen said. "I've got a great big group of guys who've been working on it for quite a while. Businesses are donating products, and one donated the hay."
Children are even welcome to dress in Halloween costumes for the ride, Deen noted.
Admission is $1 for those 13 and under and $3 for ages 14 and up. Currently there are no plans to offer concessions, but that could change, Deen said. Proceeds will benefit the Habitat for Humanity.
"To me, it was the newest charity event coming into town," Deen said about why the Habitat was chosen to receive the proceeds. "I figured if we're bringing this back, why not match a new event with a charity coming to town. The Habitat was really receptive of it."
Deen said this contribution will kick off the Habitat's drive for next year, Deen said.
"It takes a lot of support from community to make this thing go," Deen said. "I'm wanting to bring this thing back so it will be a yearly thing. The more support we have from it, the bigger we can make it."
Deen said the event is something many have and everyone can once again enjoy.
"To me, it's cheap entertainment," Deen said.
Meanwhile, Deen said the Jaycees are hoping to really spook some people during the two-night event.
He said: "Just keep your eyes open because you never know what's going to happen."