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Here’s how many people came to the first-ever Cumming Scare Fair
Scare Fair
Victoria Callaway poses for a photo Saturday, Oct. 26 between guests at the Cumming Scare Fair. She volunteered to work in the Relay for Life’s haunted attraction in honor of her mother who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2006 and passed away shortly after.

Over the past few weekends, the Cumming Fairgrounds has seen infected, contaminated water, a breakout of zombie-like infections and other creatures and had a lot of support for a local cancer non-profit. Well, at least one of those was real.

The Cumming Scare Fair, a new local haunt attraction, was open for two weekends (Oct. 18-19 and 25-26) and brought out more than 3,500 visitors to check out the haunted house and a midway featuring food, games and performances by Qui Vive, a collaborative group of about 13 performers who put on “The Upside Down Circus.”

Rena Pendley with the American Cancer Society said not only did the Scare Fair get a great response from visitors, it helped spread the group’s message.

“The Scare Fair was a success for the Forsyth County area, not only for fundraising [Relay for Life] but for the recognition of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Forsyth County,” Pendley said. “We were able to showcase Relay for Life to new individuals who did not know that the American Cancer Society supported it like they did.”

For weeks ahead of the event, organizers ran videos promoting the Scare Fair with a newscaster growing more and more infected while reporting on contamination of water at the fictional Cumming Water Authority. Pendley said the story got a big response from attendees.

“Everybody that was coming out of the haunt was talking about how they loved that it had a storyline, that it wasn’t just a scare, there was a storyline behind it,” she said. “They loved how we built the storyline prior to the haunt and that it was actually really scary.”

Pendley said the event was also something new for longtime volunteers for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, which often holds events for the whole family rather than a haunted house recommended for teens and up.

“Our Relay for Life leadership team, I think it put a new energy in them,” Pendley said. “Everybody had so much fun. This is a totally different fundraiser than anything we’ve ever taken on before, and just to watch the talent of the haunt team of [Jeff and Julia Maney and Kevin Hopkins], just to watch their talent and vision come to fruition and have such a successful haunt I think put us all in awe of their talent.”


Not only did the event introduce new volunteers to the American Cancer Society, it also helped those in need of its programming get some information.

“We actually had a patient in the area that went to the Hope Lodge, which is a home away from home for cancer patients who are taking treatment in the Atlanta area,” Pendley said. “They actually [said] how they heard about the Hope Lodge and the American Cancer Society was the Cumming Scare Fair. So, we’ve really made a difference in the community, and that’s what makes us all so happy it was such as success.”

With all the success, there are already plans to bring the Scare Fair back next year. Planning for this year’s event got a late start in July. Pendley said they plan to start organizing next year’s event in early 2020. They also hope for more volunteers next year.

“We are hoping to double our volunteer base,” Pendley said. “I would like to start putting the plugs in now. Anybody who would be interested in helping with this thing next year, we’re going to start meeting in January, that way we can make sure we have it planned for the coming year.”

Pendley said anyone interested in getting involved with next year’s Scare Fair can contact her at Rena.Pendley@Cancer.org or 470-344-0410. More information about the American Cancer Society can be found at Cancer.org or by calling 1-800-227-2345.