Frights and food

by | Nov 9, 2023

Fourth annual Rotary Haunted Hayride supports Valley Food Bank

Zombies, ghouls, and other creatures stalked the AYR Motor Centre on Saturday, Oct. 28, as a part of the fourth annual Rotary Haunted Hayride in Woodstock.

The hayride, which originated as a no-contact haunted drive-thru organized by the Rotary Club of Woodstock during the COVID-19 pandemic, has quickly become a community staple. Groups like Big Brothers and Sisters, Canterbury Varsity Basketball, the Woodstock Interact Club, NBCC, Woodstock High School men and women hockey teams, Wicked Good Graphics, Ashley’s Goblins, Garnet’s Gargoyles, and Stockford Smokestacks provided volunteers and support for the scare stations.

All profits from the event went to the Valley Food Bank. Organizers accepted both non-perishable food and money as admission to the hayride.

The event ran from 6 to 10 p.m. and grew scarier as the night progressed. Seven trailers were in use at the event, including two wheelchair-accessible.

Event co-chairs Hilary Stockford and Scott Dunlop said over 100 volunteers and two months of preparation were needed to make the event a reality.

Rotary handed out over 1,200 treat bags, loaded more than 1,800 people into hay ‘wagons’ and collected 623 lbs. of food for Valley Food Bank.

At the same time, the hayride took place, a hockey game was happening in the AYR Motor Centre.

“The hockey game has been a positive impact (on the event’s attendance), and it is great to see the AYR Moter Centre used to its full capacity,” said Stockford.

Executive Director of the Valley Food Bank, Monica Grant, was also present at the Haunted Hayride.

“The Rotary has been one of our biggest partnerships … to get our new building up and running, and they are constantly doing different things like the hayride to help with donations and funding,” said Grant.

Both Grant and Stockford stressed that the integral part of the Haunted Hayride’s success was the community support behind it.

“Businesses and the community showed up in a big way to make this happen,” said Stockford. “From donating the 2x4s to helping figure out lighting to using the big tractors – all if it was important to make this happen.”

(With files from Theresa Blackburn)

Executive director of the Valley Food Bank, Monica Grant, and their husband, Troy Grant, volunteer at the hayride. (Connor Barry photo)
A group from Big Brothers and Sisters was present at the event. (Connor Barry photo)
A trailer full of people making their way down the trail. (Connor Barry photo)
From left, Andrew Garnet and Danya Hanson in costume. (Connor Barry photo)
From left, Lily Arseneau, Wille Appleby, and Hunter Smith are ready to scare. (Connor Barry photo)
From left, Ashley Farrell, Amanda Farrell, and Peyton McLean are surrounded by darkness. (Connor Barry photo)
The Woodstock men’s and women’s hockey teams pose in front of the arena doors. (Connor Barry photo)

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