Halloween aficionados will get an early start on celebrating the holiday when Earl Warren Showgrounds presents the first “The Haunt & Harvest Festival” this weekend at the site on the corner of Las Positas Road and Calle Real.
There will be fun-filled festivities for the entire family from 4 p.m. Friday through 10 p.m. Sunday. Included will be carnival rides, live bands, food, a beer garden and activities for the kids like face painting, trick or treating and a costume contest.
Best of all will be the three haunted houses.
“The Tunnel of Terror under the bleachers in the main area will feature an exorcist theme, and the Hall of Darkness in Warren Hall will have creepy clowns. We dare you to walk down it alone. The Barn in one of the actual barns on the property will have a maze with an asylum theme. Think of it as a normal barn, just not one you want to be in,” said Rosie Miranda, venue coordinator at the showgrounds.
The costumed actors in the houses will be members of the Booster Club at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
“We asked for their help, and they are excited to do it,” said Ms. Miranda, who is heading the showgrounds staff planning the activities.
“Halloween is definitely the favorite holiday for me and my family,” said Ms. Miranda, 35. She and her husband, Anthony, are parents of a third grader at Monte Vista School, and a prekindergartener at Vieja Valley School. “The older one is going to be a zombie bride this year and her sister is going to be a zombie Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Last year, we all dressed as zombies, and we’ll probably do the same this year. Don’t ask me why zombies are so popular with the kids. Go figure.”
New this year is the Harvest Festival component, which will feature vendors like doTERRA Essential Oils selling their products, and members of Girl Scout Troop 925 offering Glitter Tattoos.
Food will be sold by Santa Barbara Munchiez and Chicken in a Barrel, and the Santa Barbara Showgrounds Foundation is sponsoring the beer garden.
“Among the entertainers will be Destined Dance Group, Exporter, Lizard’s Mouth, The Endless and The Offkeys,” said Ms. Miranda. “In the parking lots will be 12 carnival rides including the Zipper, Tilt-a-Whirl and Gravitron.”
Children’s activities will include trick-or-treating, a costume contest for 12-year-olds and younger and face painting.
The Harvest Festival will be open from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Unlimited ride wristbands for the carnival rides are $20 presale or $25 at the event.
Tickets are required for the three haunted houses, which will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $12 for admission to one of the houses and $30 for all three.
“No costumes are allowed in the houses, and we recommend them for ages 13 and older unless accompanied by an adult,” said Ms. Miranda.
Ben Sprague, CEO for Earl Warren Showgrounds, said, “This is the first of what we plan as an annual event. We have the Santa Barbara Fair and Expo in the spring, and we want The Haunt & Harvest Festival to become an annual fall tradition, a true community event for big and little kids.”