News-Sun file photo The ghouls and goblins will have to find a new stretch of woods to haunt this year. The Humane Society's Terror Trail has been cancelled due to flooding.
published: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Terror Trail flooded out for this year
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- The Sixth Annual Terror Trail will have to wait until next year. Organizer and chief fabricator for the once-a-year attraction Jon Spiegel made the announcement Friday.
"It is pretty flooded out there and we just ran out of time so we have just decided to cancel it this year," he said.
The trail, which is constructed on the grounds of the Humane Society of Highlands County, is not entirely flooded. However, said Spiegel there are varying depths of water from nearly ankle deep at the entrance to just wet and "squishy" throughout the balance of the property.
"Some sections are 6-8 inches deep, others are just like a muddy slush," he said.
Although Spiegel said there had been no reptile sightings, there is an abundance of mosquitoes breeding freely in the standing water in and around the wooded area.
There had been suggestions the trail might be relocated, but he pointed to a vast amount of infrastructure that already is in place which would be virtually impossible to move, especially at this late date.
"We usually start working on this in mid-July and there was excessive flooding out there back then," he said. " I had a feeling even then that this was what we were going to be faced with."
Instead of moving the location, it also has also been suggested that the date be moved, possibly to January when the threat of rain would have subsided, there would be cooler weather, fewer bugs and less competition from such things as football games and other Halloween-themed events.
However, planned new construction at the Humane Society will nix that idea.
"January is right at the time when we will be breaking ground on the new kennels," Spiegel said.
The construction project will have a tremendous impact on the Humane Society parking lot. Additionally, the date would run up against another of Spiegel's major holiday efforts.
"We will just be finishing up with the Christmas Carousel of Lights in downtown Sebring at that time and that is a huge project in and of itself," he said.
A suggestion to move the Terror Trail date to February would put it up against the Highlands County Fair and would infringe on yet another Humane Society fundraiser, the annual Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt held in the same area.
The cancellation of the Terror Trail also means a huge financial hit for the Humane Society. Despise being rained out three days during last year's run, the Halloween event brought in just over $30,000 for the group. The organization is run entirely through the private sector and takes no tax dollars.
The Terror Trail has not been the only casualty of the rains. This weekend's planned Habitat for Humanity Golf Tournament at the Country Club of Sebring had to be postponed because of wet grounds.
"We have several holes on the front nine that simply are unplayable due to saturation," said Cory Decoteau, golf pro at the Country Club. "The water has just gotten so high it has no place to escape."
In fact, he said, over the past three weeks the front nine of the course has only been open six or seven days. Even at those times, Decoteau said, there had been some special restrictions.
"We need three to five days in a row of sunlight and no rain to dry things out," he said.
The tournament has been rescheduled for Oct. 19.
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