Dayton Comment

Brimstone Haunt at Renaissance Park brings the high-intensity scares to those who dare enterBy Jim Bucher

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”—Author Stephen King

Boy, ain’t that the truth, especially beginning a column. But I digress. In this case I’m talking about starting a journey through Brimstone Haunt. It’s the Miami Valley’s newest “Scream Themed” Halloween attraction with roots from the past.

“The Springboro Haunted Hayride & Black Bog closed after 28 years at the end of the haunt season in 2016. We (Renaissance Park) were approached because of already being in the events business,” says Cheryl Bucholtz, the marketing director for Brimstone Haunt and Ohio Renaissance Festival.

“After a few months of working out the details we purchased most of their assets. By the fall of 2017 it all came alive with Brimstone Haunted Hayride and Forgotten Forest walk through. We are very appreciative that the operations crew from Springboro Haunted Hayride & Black Bog came over to bring Brimstone Haunt to life,” she says.

Brimstone Haunted Hayride features a 20-minute trek riding on a wagon through the Brimstone Farm, full of long-lost memories, stories and curses. It’s fun and frightening at the same time to anticipate what’s waiting around every twist and turn through the cornfield.

“The hayride has gotten an overhaul. Riders will see some new scenes and new scares this year. We’ve developed a relationship with a local puppeteer who has been busy creating props and puppets to add to the experience. Get ready to be surprised,” Bucholtz says.

For the braver folks, The Forgotten Forest features a high-intensity scare. Many people have gone searching for answers to the unnatural events that occur in and around the forest, but none have ever returned. Only the fearless should dare enter these trees and IF you make it back out you will not be the same as when you went in.

Whew, can I open my eyes now? At any rate, they don’t rest in their graves … I mean, rest on their laurels because there’s all new mesmerizing macabre thrills.

“New this year is Psychosis where around every corner awaits disturbing scenes of horror that will leave you in a state of psychosis. Get the ‘yell’ scared outta you as you twist and turn through the dark maze-like pathways trying to find the exit. It is Brimstone Haunt’s most intense scare and I am so excited for customers to experience it this year,” Bucholtz says.

And the Zombie Assault is a zombie attack simulator where you’re trying to escape the hot zone inside a van with aforementioned zombies trying to enter. The van rocks and rolls and … that’s it, can’t give anymore away.

But this columnist got a sneak peek of both and they are truly awesome. If you love Halloween—and who doesn’t—you’ll love this. Bucholtz says she loves to hear the enjoyment from kids of all ages and an occasional scream or two—which includes staff.

“Speaking for myself—I do get a kick out of the haunt. I never in my life thought that I would be interested in the haunt industry other than an occasional visit to a haunted attraction or Halloween party. I have grown to love it from being in it! I think there is an art to creating a haunted attraction and a science to delivering scares. Not only that, but there is a sense of community that comes from working so closely together to pull it off from the build-out crew to the actors to the concession workers. There is also camaraderie among haunted attractions from the owners to the actors to the build-out crews. It’s refreshing to experience that,” she says.

With the huge success of the Ohio Renaissance Festival, celebrating 30 years this year by the way, why branch out in a completely different direction? Easy, it’s location, location, location.

“The property the Ohio Renaissance Festival operates on is called Renaissance Park. With Renaissance Park comes a good amount of land that’s usable for things like a mile-long hayride trail. There has been a desire to use the property for other events since I have been involved with the business. Brimstone Haunt was an easy choice to utilize what I call ‘the back 40’ of the property—enough space to allow us to run two events simultaneously with adequate parking,” Bucholtz says.

Halloween is big business for consumer spending near to, you know, the jolly old elf, but here it’s all about the experience for the entire family.

“I’d like people to leave with the feeling they won’t sleep that night … I’m kidding but only just a little. Honestly, we want them to leave with a feeling that it was time and money well spent and that they want to do it again and bring others to experience the same,” says Bucholtz.

And finally, what scares Bucholtz? “Clowns. Ever since I was a little kid I have had a fear of clowns—happy, sad, scary, making balloons, circus, doesn’t matter. From being immersed in the haunt industry I feel I have overcome the fear a little bit, but I still have a way to go!”

I’m witness to that, as Bucholtz and yours truly experienced Stephen King’s It on the big screen. Lots and lots of girl screams. Hope I didn’t hurt her ears.


Jim BOO!-ker ‘Buch”