Leg­ends of the Fog cel­e­brates 10 years of scary fun

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRAD KRONER

bkro­ner@ches­pub.com

— 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

ABERDEEN

“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.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF LEG­ENDS OF THE FOG

The Leg­ends of the Fog at­trac­tion in Aberdeen is cel­e­brat­ing 10 years this year.

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