|HAMILTON HAUNTED HAYRIDE:
aboard, snuggle down, and get ready to enjoy a good old-fashioned hayride
through the dark, secluded Hamilton woods. Gigantic spiders, fog,
and loud, scary music, welcome you into the rural countryside, as the exploration
gets underway in a lakeside area known as Lost Bye You (Bayou).
Torches and cauldron-like containers blast fire up into the sky, and you're
close enough to feel the intensity of the flames! Spooks begin to
descend upon the wagon from both sides, many of whom are armed with various
"weapons" - knives, axes, and the like. Some even go so far as to
hop on, and join the ride for a time, all the while terrorizing those on
board. Deeper into the woods, through cemeteries, and the Yard
of Terror, a swamp monster bursts out of the trees, undead zombie leave
their caskets, and Michael Myers attacks, accompanied by the theme
from the movie Halloween. An onslaught attack of numerous
creatures coincides with the approach of Head Hunter - an impressive
looking combine having skulls attached to its blades, that emerges out
of the brush, and charges up behind the ride. Its blinding headlights
pierce the darkened path, as it follows closely to the rear, blasting its
horn, and actually nudging you along a couple of times! Déjà
vu a little later on, occurring with a similar encounter from an engine
revving, red headlighted pick-up truck - its fiery exhaust erupting skyward
from its loud, powerful engine! Gunshots, more cemeteries, a funeral
scene, Jason claiming another victim, clowns, and a double broadside,
horn blaring, near miss collision, lead up to an awesome overhead
surprise, and a multiple, on board, all out chainsaw chase-out on the Hamilton
LENGTH - 10, One of the longest attraction around, exceeding
ACTORS - 6½, Plentiful in number, possibly 100
or more, but mostly masks, and little to no dialogue, except for Hillbilly
kid attempting to sell moonshine. Many others broke character
prior to our exiting their scenes. Main intimidation factor arises
from the crew actually boarding the wagon, and tormenting riders with up
close and personal encounters.
SCARINESS - 7, The ride through these woods is dark and
unnerving to most, readily apparent from the reactions of our co-riders.
"Head Hunter" pursuit is quite fear instilling, as is the truck chase.
DESIGN - 7, Impressive length, and the slow speed of
the tractor makes the trip more intense than it otherwise would be.
Some exhibitions were unoccupied, and dead spots, while difficult to avoid,
do exist. New funeral scene is unique, impressive and attention getting,
while elimination of burning lake effect is unfortunate, as well as a substantial
loss. Climactic finish is a welcomed addition. Timing wasn't
the greatest, as a group of 5 or 6 monsters chose to board the wagon simultaneous
with occurence of the overhead surprise distracting the passengers, thus
many of them missed it. Still miss the '05 lemonade stand that sprayed
a mist of "blood" as you rode by.
PROPS - 6½, A few are poorly lit, and the course
provides plenty of opportunities throughout the woods to expand the decor.
Flaming pipes and "cauldrons" are best, but losing the burning lake effect
hurts the score.
VALUE - 8½, One of the most affordable attractions
around, retaining the same $8 fee for at least the fourth consecutive year
- practically unheard of these days.
RATING: 7, One of our sentimental favorites,
the Hamilton Hayride benefits the non-profit Izaak Walton League
of America, and all the ghosts and goblins are volunteers. Combine
and truck chases, and overhead surprise make it worth the price of admission.
It's been so unseasonably warm this year that it hasn't been needed, but
as the October nights begin to turn chilly, a cozy bonfire will add a mysterious
tone to the overall setting, while accompany the queue line - it's flames
lighting the darkened environment, and reassuring guests with warmth and
comfort. The Gatekeeper opens the gate each Friday and Saturday night
at 6:30, and closes it promptly at 11. Children under 3 ride free.