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Photo TR: Six Flags America Fright Fest

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For the past three Saturdays, the family and I have loaded up the PT Cruiser and made our way to Six Flags America. Two weeks ago it was just a random visit. Last week it was with a group trip I had organized for a local civic club, and this week it was for the opening of Fright Fest. If you read the post subject before you clicked on it, you obviously know which visit this TR focuses on!


Now, I know there are still a lot of people out there who, based on the park's lingering reputation, would say something along the lines of "I thought every day at SFA was Fright Fest!" But as I've said several times in these forums, this park has done a complete 180 in the past couple years. It's among the cleanest parks I've visited this year, and the clientele has shifted from gangs to families (a change that still shocks my fiancee, who grew up literally just down the street from SFA and saw her neighborhood go through the opposite shift in the late '80s-early '90s). If you asked me to name the park with the friendliest employees, I would honestly place Six Flags America this year on par with Walt Disney World (and above Disneyland).


At any rate, Fright Fest was the kind of Halloween event that suited us exactly. It had a few scary "adult" thrills mixed with a few kid-centric events... but mostly it offered a lot of things we could do together as a family without the adults getting bored or my 6-year-old stepdaughter getting over-scared. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Wild One--it was the only ride we squeezed in for the day, and it was running insane! We had a similarly good experience on it last weekend, as well. Anyone heading to SFA in the next few weeks should make time to give it a try.


One disclaimer before we continue: Due to lighting, some of the shots may appear to switch from daytime to nighttime, but I put them in the order we actually did the attractions, not necessarily the order in which they were shot. And with that being said... on with the show!


Here we are! I'd bet money that this skull was made by fiberglass maestro Mark Cline, whose work we explored in depth at his attractions in Natural Bridge, Virginia, earlier this year. The one-eyed skull is one of his signature designs.




OK, I know I said SFA is one of the cleanest parks I've visited this year... but the giant cobwebs are just for show, I promise!


Not sure who thought it was a good idea to put a graveyard in the middle of Main Street....


This was Kelly's favorite tombstone in the park.


We got to Looney Toons Spooky Town about 15 minutes before the seasonal attractions there opened up, so we killed some time looking at the Halloween-themed dioramas set up in that area.


Looks like that piercing might have hurt!


First event of the night: Trick-or-Treat Trail!




I loved these statuettes. Anyone know what these awards are called?


Aww... Babs and Buster are finally getting hitched!


Next up was the Not-So-Scary Hayride around the Great Chase track. Entering from the maintenance area, we got to see a couple of the "special" cars on display.


The hayride was kids-only, which, given the length of the line and the size of the wagons, was probably a good idea. There were probably 50 people in front of us, but after weeding out the adults, it was only a one-wagon wait.


For the first and only time this season, we opted to dine in the park. We chose Johnny Rockets since it was directly between Spooky Town and the WB Theater, which was our next stop. Cost for a cheeseburger combo, chicken fingers combo and kids meal without drinks: $33. But at least they threw in an extra order of fries!


It was kind of exciting to see this theater actually being used for something.


I can't be 100 percent sure, but I think the idea here was to produce an episode of "Welcome Back, Kotter" with monsters and music. Basically, four monsters dressed in vaguely '70s-style outlets are going to a party at Dr. Frankenstein's when they stumble upon Dracula's ex, Hazel Witch. They take turns hitting on her in front of him. She tells them she just wants to be friends, so they invite her to the party, where I can only imagine roofies are eventually involved.


Actually, this kids' show was really entertaining. The music was good, the costume design was great, and the headless Igor was the best dancer we saw all night!


Lauryn made a new friend!


As it began to get dark, we made our way over to the Stunt Arena for Blood Moon Rising. This was one of two stunt shows presented as part of Fright Fest--we missed the other (which I think was really just the park's regular pirate show) earlier in the day.


This was a really well-produced show. Basically, a mad scientist has lured a fellow researcher to an abandoned ghost town under the guise that they're conducting top-secret cancer research. In reality, he's testing a serum that turns people into werewolves (or in Lauryn-speak, "weer-whups") so he can harness their strength and invincibility for himself. The police show up to investigate. It doesn't end well.


Up next was Frightmares, a really fun monster musical revue.


For us, Frankenstein's Monster was the hit of the show. We sat in the front row, and he spent an inordinate amount of time flirting with Lauryn, blowing her kisses from the stage, etc. She loved it!


Then she got picked to go up on stage and dance the Time Warp with the monsters!


Afterward, the monsters went down into the audience and posed for photos with the kids. Even more impressively, however, they sat in the back and watched the kiddie costume contest that followed, in full makeup and costume! It really made things a lot more fun for the kids.




Lauryn was quite upset that she didn't win the costume contest... but Frankenstein's Monster consoled her by blowing her more kisses on our way out!


OMG, is that supposed to be who I think it is?


The Bridge of Terror was one of the two "adult scary" portions of the park... but that didn't stop Lauryn from joining in! Normally she loves scary things (she's seen more fright movies than I have), but this was a little much for her.


Circus of Lost Souls was an upcharge with a vague circus theme, though the most interesting scenes took place at an abandoned gas station rather than a circus for whatever reason. We gave Lauryn the choice of sitting it out, but she once again wanted to tag along--and was scared out of her mind! Ironically, it wasn't the monsters she was so afraid of, but the fire effects.


"Are you my mother?"


Favorite sign of the night!


Besides the pirate show, the only two Fright Fest-centric events we missed (mostly by choice) were the Mr. Six Spooktacular Street Party--basically the regular Mr. Six Dance Party held throughout the rest of the year, only with Halloween music--and the Magic of the Night show, held respectively in front of and inside the Grand Theatre.




The evening ended with the Thriller Closing Countdown: zombie Michael Jackson re-enacting part of the "Thriller" video with five or so other zombies on Main Street. Michael was great, but the performance would have looked a lot cooler with about a dozen more zombies thrown in.


Good bye, SFA! We'll see you again next year!

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