Legends of the Fog celebrates 10 years of scary fun
— Since starting as a haunted hayride in 2007, Legends of the Fog has grown into one of Maryland’s most popular haunted attractions and now includes a haunted hotel, a “sinister circus” and a “cornstalkers corn maze.”
Patrick Barberry, the general manager, said the attraction is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
“We started in 2007 and we started it as just a hayride,” he said. “It’s kind of exploded over time, but our main attraction has always been our hayride.”
The hayride began as a mile-long journey with 10 skits and 40 actors. Now, it’s expanded to become a little bit bigger than that.
A large tent houses the “sinister circus” and a permanent building serves as the “haunted hotel.”
Visitors begin on the haunted hayride, where they must “evacuate from the zombie horde through this open-air Halloween hayride,” the website says. “Experience true horror craft and bear witness to many individual scenes that prove that nightmares can come true.”
Following the hayride, visitors “check-in to the haunted hotel, and encounter a close quarters nerve-racking haunted house the likes of which you have never seen. This is an interactive haunted house, so be prepared to save yourself and escape the creepy dark that will haunt your dreams,” according to the website.
The sinister circus features
“everything from the bearded lady, to conjoined twins, with a little ZIP at the end,” the website says.
The corn maze is a labyrinth of uncertainty, as visitors keep an ear out for suspicious rustling sounds on their path.
“A lot of our ideas come from everyday fears and everyday life,” Barberry said. “We’ll just be driving somewhere and it’ll start a conversation.”
He pointed to an old, creepy factory as an example.
“We try to find a way to translate that into our world,” he said.
Barberry said that, even with the new additions, they hope to connect everything with a “narrative thread.”
“I feel like a lot of Halloween attractions have a loose plot or no plot at all and a lot of our customers have an appreciation for the story,” he said.
But despite changes and additions, familiar elements will continue to be featured prominently.
“Our calling card is the fog itself and the story behind it,” Barberry said, noting that it would continue to be featured.
Legends of the Fog has grown popular in its 10 years of operation and attracts a number of returning customers, so the crew works hard to come up with new ways to keep past visitors on their toes.
Barberry said the crew is constantly re-imagining and re-inventing the set to keep the story fresh.
“We change 30 percent of the show each year,” he said.
The crew is receptive to customers, conducting exit polling and taking customer feedback into consideration when evaluating the attraction. The crew is always evaluating what works best and what didn’t work.
The cast typically keeps the top third and “reinvents” the bottom third to put “more emphasis on it and bring it to a new level,” Barberry said.
Over the course of two to three years, 80 to 90 percent of the attraction may change.
To maintain and operate such an extensive operation, it takes a large and committed staff.
Legends of the Fog features a 120-person staff, including actors, designers and set builders. Many of these people work year-round.
“It takes lot of people and a lot of moving parts to make it all happen,” Barberry said. “Everyone chooses their own level of involvement and everyone has something that they specialize in.”
Most of the staff are volunteers and “quite a few of them” have been working on the attraction since its first and second year, Barberry said.
The owner is Barberry’s father, Mike Barberry, who also works as the lead scenic designer.
“He’s an infrastructure guy who likes laying the foundation,” Patrick said.
Patrick’s mother, Charlene, is part owner and head designer, leading the staff with the “fine detail work.”
Robyn, Patrick’s wife, is the actor coordinator.
“She puts everyone in their place and takes charge over the acting troupes,” Barberry said.
Although the goal is to spook visitors, sometimes the staff spooks each other.
“We kind of keep count of how often we scare each other,” Barberry said, explaining that they “play around with stuff to give people a good scare.”
According to Barberry, actors have said they hear things in the woods and crew members have observed some unexplained happenings near the woods.
“That puts everybody on edge,” he said.
Barberry hopes that Legends of the Fog continues to grow.
“The goal is to become more of a regional draw,” he said, noting that their “bread and butter” is the Baltimore County and Harford County region.
He has high expectations for this year’s season.
“This is really the year that everybody’s put their heads together, and we’re going in a solid direction,” Barberry said. “It’s really grown, and it’s a totally different show from even three years ago. For those people that have come for a while, now is the time to celebrate our 10-year anniversary.”
The Legends of the Fog attraction in Aberdeen is celebrating 10 years this year.