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'Area 13' haunted house expected to draw large crowds

The annual haunted house at the Wadena County Fairgrounds is back, and organizers hope for increasingly large crowds in the fundraising effort for the county fair and Ag Society.

"Area 13: Zone of Fear" will be presented from 7:30-11:30 p.m. Oct. 12-13, 18-20, 26-27 and, of course, Halloween night, Oct. 31.

Organizers said hundreds of guests are expected to arrive from the Wadena area, Brainerd, St. Cloud, Fargo, Duluth, the Twin Cities and other parts of Minnesota to the fairgrounds on 400 Ash Ave. NW, where the show will start at the dairy barn, go through a field and end up at the sheep barn, the main haunted house.

The show is handicap accessible, and tickets are $8.

Joe Randall, one of the haunted house organizers who comes up with a different theme each year, said this year's theme involves an abandoned military research facility gone wrong.

"You go through a haunted cornfield first, and then after that you enter 'Area 13'," Randall said. "You walk in, and they've got gas masks on, and there's people dead inside there," Fair Board President Mike Olson said.

Diane Vry, who helps with labor and props, said organizers are hoping for 2,000 people.

Olson said attendance has gone up every year they have held the haunted house.

Randall and Olson said they change the haunted house every year, so repeat customers will always have new scares and surprises to return to.

"We're looking forward to scaring the hell out of people. It's what we do every year," Randall said.

The show is not recommended for children under 10.

"It's not for the faint of heart, let's put it that way," Randall said. "We've had people actually pee their pants."

Olson said while there are gruesome visuals, and people may experience contact with hanging objects, actors do not grab people and customers are not allowed to touch actors either.

Organizers are looking for actors and actresses for the haunted house. Those interested may contact Vry at 218-371-8665 or Olson at 218-639-0750.