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A Ghostbuster, a unicorn, Captain America and even a zombie or two joined together Saturday to celebrate the season with spooky tales, a brisk walk and, of course, costumes during an evening of fun and frights on the Harrison South Rail Trail at Veterans Memorial Park.
This was the third year for Spooky Tales on the Rail Trails, an event hosted by the Harrison County Historical Society and Harrison Rail Trails.
Volunteers for the organizations manned five storytelling posts along a half-mile portion of the rail trail, each recounting a different spooky West Virginia tale.
Tour guides led large groups along the trail, which was lined with lights, as well as ghosts, scarecrows and other Halloween favorites.
Organizers arrived at 11:30 a.m. to start preparing for the evening event, according to Jeffrey Davis, president of Harrison Rail Trails.
“The first year, the weather was really bad. It rained for 14 hours straight, and we still had 40 people show up. Last year, we moved it here to this trail (from the North View Trail). We were hoping for 50 people, and almost 500 showed up,” Davis said.
Davis was hoping for at least a few hundred this year, and early attendance was promising, he said.
The event promotes the rail trail and makes history fun, said Harrison County Historical Society Treasurer Sherri Heavner, who served as a tour guide for the event.
“We try to make history interesting and fun,” she said. “We want things that you can participate in. All the stories we are telling are authentic and local West Virginia stories.”
Harrison County Historical Society board member Laura Davis brought her rescue donkey, Rosita, to the event for the first time to greet attendees. Rosita, who goes by “Little Rose,” even came in costume.
“She’s been with me for over two years,” Laura Davis said. “She has a very sweet disposition, and we just thought it would be fun, so we brought her out to see how she would do here. She’s enjoying herself immensely.”
People lined up for photos with Little Rose.
Victoria and Roger Turner brought their three grandkids to Spooky Tales on the Rail Trails for the first time this year. Victoria Turner said she checked in beforehand to make sure the event would be appropriate for the kids and that Roger Turner, who received a heart transplant 18 months ago, would be able to complete the walk.
“Babies like holidays, period,” Victoria Turner said.
“They wanted to dress up,” Roger Turner added.
Kellie Hammond and her son, Ian, attended for the second time this year.
“We had such a great time,” Kellie Hammond said. “It was such a great experience. The kids loved it. They had some local stories, which was kind of cool. It’s close to home; it’s a nice family activity, so that’s why we came out.”
Ian Hammond said he also had a great time at last year’s event, when they were part of a group that witnessed a snake coming down one of the rail trail tunnels during a spooky story.
The snake was more scary than the story, he said.
According to Heavner, the event allows locals to come together and have fun.
“We think these community events are important, and we’ve all just got to support one another,” Heavner said.
Jeffrey Davis said he hopes Spooky Tales on the Rail Trails will continue to grow.
“Come next year if you’re not here this year,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.wvnews.com
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