The team behind the inaugural Cumming Scare Fair said the event is coming back this fall with some big changes, including a new name.
The newly-branded House of Four Scythes will be held all 11 days of the Cumming Country Fair and Festival from Oct. 8-18 and two weekends after, Oct 23-24 and 30-31.
Jeff Maney – who has organized both events along with his wife, Julia, and Kevin Hopkins – said the main attraction will have a manor theme and be held at Horton Hall at the fairgrounds, but a name change was needed to avoid confusion with the fair.
“We realized, OK, if we’re going to operate the haunted house, we have to distinguish the haunted house independently from the Scare Fair, which is the midway and the vendors we had last year at that event,” Jeff Maney said. “We’re still having the Scare Fair, but it can’t happen during the regular fair.”
The Scare Fair name will still be used for the final two weekends and will include vendors and a “clown circus maze attraction.”
The House of Four Scythes' name is not only a nod to the county, Jeff Maney said, but a unique brand that could hopefully be used for years. He added, “the scythe as the implement of the reaper, the iconography of that in the horror and haunt culture, it just plays well, and it ties it to the community.”
“We struggled trying to come up with a name that was both unique and not too specific as to pigeonhole us into a specific theme,” Jeff Maney said. “Of course, the long view is to do this year after year after year.”
To both keep customers safe and to allow visitors at the fair to enjoy other attractions, attendees will be able to purchase tickets for set time periods to avoid long lines.
“You go online, you buy your ticket and you buy it in 15-minute increment slots,” Hopkins said. “When it’s your turn to come in, you come in and you’re in a corral with just your group, and you’ll be separated out, and we’ll have six to eight corrals up from to stand in and be socially distant before you come into the haunt itself.”
Last year’s Scare Fair was open for two weekends following the traditional fair, and organizers and volunteers had to spend the weeks ahead of the fair building sets, training actors and getting costumes and makeup together. The sets were moved during the fair and set back up afterward.
This year, not only do the organizers have more time for planning, but Cumming officials also let them use a city building for construction.
“That’s a huge advantage knowing that you’re planning something a year ahead of time,” Hopkins said. “We put plans together, and we are currently in build season, so we’re building our sets and layouts offsite so we can get finished, then we just disassemble them and then we will reassemble them beginning in August in Horton Hall in preparation. Having the extra months in the springtime is a huge advantage.”
An estimated 3,500 attendees came to the inaugural Scare Fair, which partnered with and raised money for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.
“We’ve known, being in the haunted house industry, that the area has been ripe for a while for a well-done haunted house, and I think last year kind of proved that this community really wants somewhere to go in October for a haunted experience that they don’t have to drive out to the surrounding areas,” Hopkins said. “I think benefitting the American Cancer Society is a big benefit for a lot of people also.”
The organizers are still looking for volunteers in a variety of roles.
“All the way until we open, we are looking for volunteers: scare actors, makeup artists, costume designers, set decorators, security, built team,” Julia Maney said. “Basically everything we do, you name it.”