Todd - Peaches. His name is Peaches and he will not be easily forgotten. I can hear him now...."Hey baby....".
Let's rewind. Fear Fair is a full contact haunt (optionally) that pulls you through several different styles of horrific scenarios. First off - prepare yourself; there's going to be a wait. For a haunt that is seemingly "in the middle of nowhere" (sorry Seymour), it draws an incredible crowd. We arrived prior to opening and even 20 minutes early, the line for tickets was long. By the time doors opened (we had the honor of opening the night), the crowd had multiplied substantially. However, Fear Fair is one of the few haunts where waiting in line is actually a pleasure. In addition to roaming actors, you'll be entertained by the owner himself, DJing from an elevated stage equipped with programed lights, pyrotechnics and...."fucking bubbles," to quote Ozzy Osbourne. It's entertaining enough that we actually hung around for an extra half hour or so just to watch once we were done.
The haunt inside is impressive with some truly fantastic sets. As we started our journey, things remained the same as past years. We started "under ground," winding through mined out corridors with surprises around each turn. We then found ourselves at the impressive voodoo house, where Paul was enchanted by a well-acted voodoo priestess. Further one we navigated through the bayou and cemetery, finding our way to the Salem-esque witch area. We'd seen all this before, yet it was still enjoyable primarily thanks to highly interactive characters. I was personally dragged into the goat man's livestock pen which I can honestly say was a first.
The second half of the haunt is where this year's changes were masterfully implemented. A vampire area seemed to be new this year (I don't recall it in previous years) and this was the weakest point of the haunt for me. Structurally, it's composed of short sections of wall sharply angled creating a twisting and turning path. Unfortunately, there was only one vampire to be found...briefly. It felt completely understaffed, so much so that one of the large recessed puppets was unmanned and dormant.
The good news is that everything beyond this point was incredible. Following a highly detailed morgue, the last large portion of the haunt is the most incredible fabricated prison set I've ever seen short of something on TV or film. This section is made up of multiple rooms: a laundry room, a cell block, showers and then Peaches' cell.
It all started in the warden's office where an inmate was holding the warden at gunpoint. Unfortunately for him, there was no option for negotiation. The inmate executed him at point-blank range and it was loud as hell.
Each was solidly detailed, so much so that I actually cut my leg on a metal, one-piece table and chair unit. The cells and second level stairs appeared to be made of actual steel and the inmates were about as unfriendly as I would imagine they truly would be.
You'll eventually find yourself in a cell with no apparent way out. You have one option - Peaches. Peaches wants some lovin'. At the beginning I told you this is a touch haunt, optionally, which is indicated by wearing glow necklaces. Well, Peaches has his own. He might be able to touch you, but he's welcoming you to touch him. The only way through is to fulfill his desire...what will you do?
Peaches is eventually kind enough to sneakily reveal the path to the final room - the execution room. Here, the chair isn't the only thing sparking. Electrical junction boxes all over are sparking and cracking and the noise is deafening. My ears were ringing by the time we were back outside.
Sadly the amazing Silent Hill area is no more. Personally, I would gladly trade the vampire area for the return of Silent Hill any day.
Fear Fair is great. It has a vibrant energy from start to finish. While the level of contact still felt toned down from our first visit 2 years ago, it was still immensely fun and I completely appreciate the hard work and creativity that goes into creating all of these different worlds within its walls.
It was a a great end to great season.
Paul - Our 2018 visit to Fear Fair marks our third trip to experience the horror of this Seymour Indiana masterpiece. I'll get it out there now... I'm a huge fan of Fear Fair. Every year it's one that I look forward to the most, and they delivered the Fear this year for sure! Last year there was a bit of disappointment in how they handled the touch/non-touch aspect of things but this year they fixed that issue and it's working very well.
If you can't see the spotlight circling the sky on your way in, you'll probably think your GPS is wrong. Fear Fair is located in an industrial park a few minutes south of the main drag through Seymour, Indiana. Seymour is located just about halfway between Indianapolis and Louisville, and it's about a two hour drive from our homes in Cincinnati. There aren't many haunts that I think are worth driving more than an hour to visit, but this one is on that list pretty easily. Once you pull up, you'll figure out pretty quickly that your GPS did its job. The lights, sounds, and crowd will let you know that you're definitely in the right place. As for the lights and sound... There isn't a haunt I've been to that gives you a better place to wait in line. DJ Fear puts on an amazing performance up on the second floor of the front of the haunt, with loud music, crazy lights, lasers, fog, and fire! We got to the haunt fairly early on the night of our visit and were fortunate enough to get through the line pretty quickly, but we still hung out for a good 20-30 minutes afterwards to see the show.
As for the real show, you'll have to make your way inside, take a deep breath, and be ready for your heart rate to climb.
Every year we notice a huge number of changes here, possibly more than any of the haunts we visit. They take scenes that have run their course or aren't up to their standards and they change them. This year there were a few scenes removed (including the Silent Hill one with Pyramid Head which makes me a little bit sad) and a couple of huge ones took their places. I'm a little bit in disbelief that they were able to construct the massive prison area so quickly, but then there were a bunch of additions in the vampire maze as well. The outdoor area was much improved from last year as well; not so much from construction, but from utilization. Last year this was the area that seemed to have been constructed with a lot of intent but there wasn't much done with it. This year there was a lot more to keep you on your toes.
So with all of these improvements, the big question is... Is it scary?
Absolutely, this is one of the scariest haunts around! You start things off with a voyage through some underground caves, a couple of zombies, some massive animatronics, lots of big bangs, and that's just the first part. The second portion had a supernatural/voodoo vibe where my favorite actor of the night resided. The second floor of the house had a woman who made a huge impression. In your face, creepy gestures, great props, and relentless! The whole voodoo area was just creepy from start to finish. Beyond that you get into the outdoor area I mentioned earlier where there's a bit of torture, death, disease, and a few creatures of the night. You wrap things up in the prison area, and it's a hell of a way to go out!
From start to finish your senses are abused. Excellent visuals, perfectly executed sound-effects, and if you opted for the extra fear pass, some of the best contact you'll get at a haunt. You did opt for the extra fear pass right? It doesn't even cost more, so you better get it! The touch aspect is so much better than last year it feels like a new haunt. On our first Fear Fair visit you didn't have an option on the touch, you were just going to get it. Last year if you didn't want to be touched you were given a glow stick to signal that you weren't ok with it. That didn't work so well because when people were scared they would tend to unintentionally hide the glow stick and the actors really had to look for the glow before they were comfortable grabbing you. This year they made it so if you opted FOR extra fear you were given a glow necklace that was hard for the actors to miss. It wasn't quite up to the contact level of our first trip but it was so much better than last year it wasn't even a comparison. Excellent job there.
One of the smaller improvements that I think helps a lot are in the ticketing and souvenir booths. They're much easier to get to now so it makes getting into the haunt a lot easier, and when you go to pick up your t-shirt or souvenir photo after your voyage through, it's way easier to get a couple of things to remember your trip with (aside from your nightmares, those are included with your admission.)
Fear Fair continues to be one of the best haunt experiences around and should absolutely be on your list of haunts to visit. You'll have an experience you won't forget, no matter how hard you try!
Teresa - I look forward to Fear Fair every year. We usually go late in the season, and while the wait is torturous, I love knowing I still have it to look forward to. It's a 2 hour drive for us, and even after having gone several years in a row, I still get the feeling the GPS is lying. Other than the giant search-light, the industrial park seems dead until you finally round the corner and see it...which is crazy once you see the stage and lasers and fog and hear the music blaring! And if you're wondering if it is worth all the hype and however long your drive might be (if you aren't from the Seymour area), it is definitely worth it! We got there a little early this year, and there was already a line. I love what they've done with the ticket and merchandise area this year; it made it so much easier to buy souvenirs and to pick up our photo later. The deejay was rocking it again this year, with all kinds of cool stage effects, like fog, lasers, bubbles, and huge flames. Between the show and the characters stalking the people waiting, it is impossible to get bored in this line! While we're talking about the ticket area, I'd like to take a moment here to recommend the touch experience. They will give you a glow necklace to wear, so the monsters know they can touch you, and it makes it so much more interactive and fun! And if you change your mind, you can always rip the necklace off and throw it down, and they will stop touching you. But come on, you came to be scared, right?
When you first go in, you can have a photo taken, which you can pick up later for a souvenir. Then, you will be ushered in, where you are put into an elevator where you are sent to a "safe" level. Or that's what was supposed to happen, but of course, doesn't. Then, you have to wander through subterranean tunnels until you come out to find sci-fi cyborg-things fighting. The theming in this section was a little different from previous years and looked pretty cool. I wish I could have seen a little more. Then we went into one of my favorites from past years, the Voodoo section. I absolutely love this part. The decor is so cool, from the houses with Voodoo relics, to the Tituba-like lady, to Marie Laveau, to the Papa Legba-looking guy who chose me to be a sacrifice and drew something on my forehead. You even go through a swamp to a little shack with a creepy witch-like woman. That leads into a cemetery full of zombies and then to another of my favorite parts, the Plague Village. This feels like you've gone back in time to a 1600s village where a witch has plagued the town and the villagers have either become sick or gone mad. Parts of it remind me of the movie, The Witch, and I even saw Black Phillip! Other parts have plague doctors, who are really creepy, and I even saw a human rat. There were also vampires helping infect the villagers. Really?! The witch and her plague aren't enough? Crazy! Then we found ourselves entering a new section for this year, a Prison Break. We witnessed all kinds of violence, including gun shots and brain splatter. The prisoners were rampaging and it really got the adrenaline going! One guy looked like something out of the most nightmarish high-security prison you've never imagined. And this is where we met Peaches. Peaches was flirty and hilarious and really enjoyed making all the guys uncomfortable. So funny! We walked out laughing. As usual, I was sorry to find myself outside, the trip over. Peaches did pop out long enough to harass some people walking by and to introduce us to Tiny, his good friend. I'm sorry we missed Tiny inside.
Afterwards, we went and picked up our photo, then stayed to watch the show for a few minutes. It was a pretty cold night, but the line just kept growing. I really liked the changes they made this year, although I was sorry to see Pyramid Head go. I always thought he was super creepy. The Prison Break was full of excitement and so well done, that I quickly forgot about Pyramid Head. They really brought the prison to life. And it was much longer and more involved than the Silent Hill section in the past. And that is one of the things I love about Fear Fair, is their ability to change things up from year to year, so you never know what you're going to get. I think Peaches was Pyramid Head last year. That guy has incredible range as an actor! I continue to love the touch factor, and I think it was better than last year. I still wish it could be a little bit more aggressive. It seems like most touch haunts have settled upon a "safe" level of touch, so you get about the same level everywhere these days. And in this litigious age, I can't blame them for that. It isn't their fault some people are chickens and others need a little more menacing (insert sheepish grin here). Until you other haunt-goers get a backbone, I'll settle for whatever manhandling I can get! Fear Fair is one of the best touch haunts out there, and the scenes and props are unique and creepy, and it also has a sense of humor. It is so much fun. Highly recommended!