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A spine-tingling favorite among the area’s haunted trails, the Stoney Point Fire Department’s Trail of Terror is bigger and better than ever this year. Those who think there is nothing more to add to the horror of the haunted trail are in for a surprise with the all new Zombie Rampage. There is still plenty of time to experience the sheer terror of it. The trail runs Oct. 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31. 

Encompassing three-quarters of an acre and manned by a cast of 81 and a staff of 42, terror reigns. The adventure begins with a stage show. Then, a haunted mansion and trek down a terror-filled wooded trail where monsters, clowns and other terrifying creatures straight from your worst nightmare await. Every year there is something new and different. 

“We try to add two new scenes every year, and so far we have been successful in doing that,” said Fire Department Captain Brandon Hanzal. “I am amazed and humbled every year by the amount of people who support this — patrons and volunteers alike.”

A new event this year is the Zombie Rampage — an interactive paint ball experience. 

“This is in the same location as the Trail of Terror, but it is a separate event,” said Hanzal. “The patrons are the only ones shooting here. This is set up like an old-time shooting gallery. The guns are mounted, so it isn’t like a game of laser tag. Once the guns are hot, the zombies are moving forward attempting to get to the patrons.” 

The Zombie Rampage costs $10 for 40 rounds. 

While the Stoney Point Trail of Terror is thrilling and entertaining for the participants, it takes countless hours to set up and run each year.  According to Hanzal, the planning starts in January and gains momentum — after the event planners attend a national Halloween convention. 

“Halloween is the second biggest money-making holiday in our country, right behind Christmas,” said Hanzal. “It is a huge industry. We get a lot of ideas from other people at the convention and we start the building process between May and June.”

 It is a lot of work, but  worth it because the funds from the event are used to purchase fire fighting and life-saving equipment for the fire department. 

“We clear about $100,000 every year,” said Hanzal. “The only reason we can do that is because we have such great support from the community. Everyone involved in this is a volunteer.” 

This year, the money is going to help pay to replace air packs for the firefighters. Replacing this vital equipment will cost $301,000. Air packs consist of a face mask connected to a portable air tank that can be strapped to a firefighter’s back. They are useful in areas that have a lot of smoke, poisonous fumes or intense heat. Because these are dated items, they need to be replaced periodically.

 “This all started when Tera Whitman and Angela Peralt looked around the station one day and said, ‘You know, with some strobe lights in here and some costumes, we could have a successful haunt,’” said Hanzal. “That’s how it all started and we’ve grown every year since then.”

For Hanzal, seeing the community come together year after year is humbling. From the volunteers that started working the event as high school students and come back year after year to the patrons that come with high expectations for a top-notch thrill, it all adds up to a great time for a worthy cause. 

“You can see the benefit of this and it is humbling to see everyone pulling together for the community,” he said. “It is huge. Everyone who comes either as a volunteer or as a patron gets something different out of it, but it is a great time and all the money we raise goes right back into keeping the community safe.”

The trail is open from 8-11 p.m. Admission is $15 per person, or skip the line and purchase a VIP Admission for $25. The trail is located behind the Stoney Point Fire Department, Station #13 at 7221 Stoney Point Road, Fayetteville. For more information,  check out the  website: www.undeadfd.com,  Facebook page (stoney point trail of terror) or  call 424-0694.

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