GRAMPIAN – After careful consideration, the Bilger’s Rocks Association have decided to cancel their upcoming Haunted Hayride.
Association president Barbara McCracken said it was a decision members did not easily make after having to cancel the event in 2020 due to the number of coronavirus infections.
âMembers are starting to plan for the hay walk in July. With events being canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus, the association had high hopes and set the park’s 2021 schedule which included the Haunted Hay ride on October 22 and 23. As we made plans, we have also observed the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Clearfield County. “
McCracken said the association did not want to cancel the event, which is one of the park’s biggest fundraisers, because it depends on funds from activities to pay for maintenance and upkeep.
âThe hay walk is one of the association’s biggest sources of income. The proceeds from it help us cover operating expenses during the winter months when we cannot organize events. Being privately owned by association members and relying solely on donations and public support to stay viable, the park depends on events like the Haunted Hayride to help meet budget needs, âshe said. Explain.
She said that in September, the association began to seriously monitor the number of cases of the virus in Clearfield County. The level spread and decided it just couldn’t take the risk of visitors getting sick.
âIn previous years, we put 30 to 35 people shoulder to shoulder in a wagon. By following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, we just couldn’t do this. We could put maybe 10 people on a wagon to allow them to be socially distant. We normally host over 600 people over the two evenings and, following social distancing recommendations, it would just take forever for people to walk through the ride, âMcCracken said.
She said the association chose October 1 as the deadline to make a decision.
âAs of October 1, the media reported 5,352 new cases locally, of which 513 were children between the ages of 5 and 18. Kids love to come to the haunted hay walk. After considering the increase in numbers, the decision was made to cancel the Haunted Hay Ride for 2021. As an association, we did not take this decision lightly, âsaid McCracken.
She said, âSetting the date for October 1 was always a tight schedule for members to prepare for the event had we been given the green light to proceed with the event. Preparing for the event takes planning. We need actors, actresses, tractors and wagons, firefighters for traffic control and volunteers. The hardest and longest job is to prepare the road for the wagon with all the accessories and decorations. Looking at reports of new cases added for the county as of October 1, the association felt it had no choice but to cancel again this year.
She said the association hopes that the number of new infections will decrease and that the association can host the event in 2022.
âWe are disappointed with this result, but for the safety of our guests, the volunteers who generously and graciously give their time and talents to help and the members, the association has made the final decision to cancel again for a second year in the hope that the 2022 calendar of events can unfold as planned, âshe said.