Wallingford is a quaint Connecticut town nestled halfway between Hartford and New Haven. The picturesque village is reminiscent of the opening shots of the Bob Newhart Show. However, true to the New England towns depicted in Stephen King novels, this quaint exterior belies the town's sinister secret.
Hiding in the woods at the end of a lonesome road is a world of fright and fantasy that will test one's mettle, temper one's cavalier courage, torment one's sanity, and taint one's soul. This vortex of dark entertainment is the Trail of Terror.
The Trail of Terror has bent the minds of the innocent and benefited local charities for 17 years. The dominion of this operation’s overseer, Wayne Barneschi, began as a home haunt. Through enlisting the help of dark forces, a veritable coven of close friends and family members, they made the leap to become a professional non-profit haunted attraction.
The Trail resides on four appalling acres of forsaken forest. The haunt scenes take up fully half of that area. The rest is given over to the ticket booth, guest line, snack bar, actor staging, costumes, and make-up prep. Each weekend in October, 100 volunteer performers and 25 or more volunteer staff converge to bring forth eldritch entertainment for up to 2,000 patrons a night.
Over the summer, the volunteer staff change approximately 75% of the Trail’s scenes so customers are confronted with novel new frights each season. After entering the front gate, guests walk along the outdoor trail through 30 different scenes. Unsuspecting patrons must venture through crawl spaces, squeeze walls, across a rope bridge, aboard a boat, under a spinning carousel, and through a vortex tunnel on their march of mayhem.
The Trail of Terror’s award-winning website (http://www.trailofterror.com) features a new theme each October which includes a back story on recurring characters. The complex narrative is then carried into one or more scenes in the Trail that feature the referenced characters. Further, characters will sometimes be featured on the Trail’s Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/trailofterrorct) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/trailofterror) sites which give patrons opportunities for additionally demented interactions.
The Trail of Terror staff are as dedicated to community charities as they are to maniacal merrymaking. Over the years the Trail donated $700,000 to the Wallingford, CT chapter of the Red Cross. The Trail now benefits the Wallingford Emergency Shelter and works closely with C.R.E.W. (Community Revitalization Efforts of Wallingford) to support students who provide humanitarian aid in areas where it is most needed.
The volunteer staff of the Trail believe firmly in the motto “We Scare Because We Care”. Their hard work and sacrifice each season is done not only to provide guests with the most nightmarish frights possible, but to benefit those in local community who need support the most.
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