EATON — The Preble County Historical Society hosted its first Haunted Hayride on Friday, Oct. 12. For $10, the night of spooky fun included a 30 minute haunted hayride, drink, snack, and bonfire.
PCHS is only hosting two hayrides for this season, until they see an interest in the event. The next chance to enjoy the seasonal fun is on Friday, Oct. 19 from 7:30-11:30 p.m at the Historical Society, 7693 Swartsel Rd. in Eaton.
PCHS Board Member Harold Niehaus was the driving force behind the new spooky hayride. He said, in speaking with Executive Director Misti Spillman, they discussed the amount of land the Historical Society is on and the merits of letting the public see it in a fun, seasonal way.
“As a board, for the Preble County Historical Society, we talked about it. Our executive director loves Halloween, it is probably her favorite holiday, and last year she did the cemetery tours and the haunted house tours here on the site. She mentioned in passing that it would be neat if we had a haunted trail of some sort. I liked that idea as well,” he said.
“We talked about it and I suggested trying it this year for a couple of Fridays to see how it goes. After that, if it is something we are happy with, we can do it next year maybe four weekends in a row.”
Eaton MVCTC FFA Chapter helped build the trail and volunteered as actors. According to Niehaus, the students spent approximately 100 hours on the trail, getting it groomed and ready for the hay rides. PCHS Board Members all participated in the event as well. They worked the ticket and food booths, as well as drove the tractors through the trails.
The first hayride was an overall success. Within the first two hour of business, they saw 80 attendees. While there are several scares throughout the trail, the ride is still family-friendly.
“So far I think everybody has had a good time. From the people who are portraying the scares to those who have gone back on the wagons — they all seem to be happy and laughing. It is great, because we are getting people to come on the grounds that have never been here before,” Niehaus said.
“Our whole purpose is to share with people that the Historical Society is here. We have 250 acres approximately, an exhibit hall, a bank barn, and the house — which is haunted by the way. These are all things we want the community to appreciate and visit during the daytime.”
The money raised from the hayride goes toward operational costs at the Preble County Historical Society, which is a nonprofit. Niehuas added, he would like to thank the volunteers who made the event possible.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH