It’s almost autumn! We love this time of year: warm weather, dramatic sunsets and sunrises, leaves changing colors and increasingly crisp mornings. Williston tends to make the most of the nice weather before winter with many harvest and Halloween themed activities. We thought we would list a few here and encourage you to check our event calendar (www.visitwilliston.com/calendar) for updates on other spooky fun events as time goes on.
First up is an event we have been pining for, for years. Dark Acres has made a name for itself in northwest North Dakota over the last two year for its haunted house and corn maze. Now the family that runs the haunt has created something amazing for younger kids and families, as well. 2015 will mark the first year for the Dark Acres Pumpkin Patch, located at 5101 2nd Ave West. Entry fee will be $5 per person, with a nominal charge for some of attractions inside the patch, such as a large zipline. This allows the Patch to keep the cost per person lower, especially for those who do not plan to use the larger attractions. Dark Acres plans to open September 17 and will be open, weather permitting, Thursdays and Fridays 4 to 7pm, and Saturdays and Sundays noon to 6pm through October 25.
Dark Acres anticipates opening its Haunted House and Corn Maze with some new features you won’t want to miss. Please remember, this activity is recommended for those ages 12 and over, who love a good scare. It is also located at 5101 2nd Ave West. The entry fee is $15. Dark Acres Haunted House and Corn Maze will be open 7:30-11pm the first four weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) of October. Please note! At certain times, come prepared to wait. It is all part of the experience! To get to the Dark Acres complex, head north on Highway 2 (2nd Ave North) and turn left as if you are going to L & K Electric or Gooseneck Implement. There will be a sign marking the entrance to the Corn Maze.
For those who love a little history with their Halloween, you cannot miss the Fort Buford Cemetery Walk on October 24 from dusk until 9pm. Visit ghosts of the Old West as they relate their experiences and how they came to reside in the graveyard at Fort Buford. This event is appropriate for all ages and is a great opportunity to get out to Fort Buford, the North Dakota Governor’s 2014 Attraction of the Year!
October 24 also marks the 3rd Annual Run for Help 5k Zombie Challenge. This 5k is a fundraiser for Williston Basin United Way and is sponsored by the Williston CVB, Anytime Fitness, Williston Parks and Target Logistics. The run takes place in and around Spring Lake Park. Although it is not an obstacle course, you will find yourself traversing some grass hilly areas and conquering some terrain challenges in addition to several zombie infested areas. Zombies are on a mission to snatch the race flags from around a belt each runner picks up at registration, and will chase you through the course, so watch your step. Anyone who makes it through the course with a flag still attached to their belt is entered in a prize drawing.
You can participate either solo or as part of Zombie Outbreak Response Team (limit 6 per team) for a nice $5 discount. You will be able to find the registration link on the CVB Calendar of Events in the near future. A chili feed is scheduled for after the race. If you would like to volunteer as a zombie, basic face painting will be provided! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
On October 31, the Williston Downtowners Association sponsors the Trail of Treats, another local favorite that has been a community tradition for years. This event provides a safe and fun daytime trick-or-treating experience for kids ages 12 and under and their chaperones, 2:30-5:30pm. Kids love the chance to dress up and see how other kids are dressed up, as well. Any participating businesses will have a poster in their window. As you shop and eat in downtown Williston in October, you will start to see the posters pop up!
The Annual All City Halloween Party will take place the evening of October 31 at the Raymond Family Community Center. This is a fun alternative evening trick-or-treating event for those looking for something instead of or in addition to your traditional door-to-door Halloween experience. In fact, many families go straight from the Trail of Treats downtown to the Raymond Center for the Halloween party. Since the party takes place inside, it is kid friendly regardless of the weather! 5:30-8pm for children age preschool – 6th grade. Kids may also like to check out the costume contest during the party. The Pre-K through 2nd grade contest will be at 6:30pm and grades 3-6 will be at 7pm. The Annual All City Halloween Party is a free event sponsored by Williston Parks and the Williston Police Association. If you have questions about the All City Halloween Party, contact Jess at 774-9773.
Williston Parks will be offering their online pumpkin carving contest again this year. When you carve your pumpkin, take a picture of the finished product and send it to email@example.com along with your name and age for a chance to win a birthday party room at the Williston ARC! Pictures will be posted on the Parks Facebook page and public voting will determine the favorite. Voting will take place October 29-30 and a winner announced on October 31.
We also have a fun Adults Only evening scheduled for October 31-November 1. We (Williston CVB) will be hosting the Dead Man's Hand Poker Tournament at the Grand Williston Hotel. Check out this $300 Buy-In 2 Day DeepStack & 2nd Chance Tourney and see how your luck (and skill) measure up. We will publish a poster in the near future, but for details you can check out www.roughriderpokertour.com (event #35).
A couple of notes: most of the activities listed here rely on volunteers to make them amazing! From extra hands at the Pumpkin Patch to amateur actors at the Haunted Corn Maze and Zombie Run, every helper makes a big difference. If you would like to be part of the fall spirit in Williston and help make these events amazing, get in touch with the contacts listed in this blog post.
As always, keep your eyes wide open for kids trick-or-treating on October 31. Many families love traditional trick-or-treating and there will be many out knocking on doors after dark. If your home is open for business, leave your light on! If you are ready to retire for the night, turn your front door’s light off. Have a safe and happy Halloween, and enjoy Williston’s amazing autumn season in the meantime.