By Denton Josey, Page Editor
Abilene’s first haunted island is under construction and men’s social club Frater Sodalis is making it happen.
In collaboration with the On Command Canine Resort, owned by Annette Turner, the Frats are constructing a haunted tour that will include a boat ride, walking tour and hayride.
Spirits Haunted Island, a fundraising effort to benefit both the social club and a future dog amusement park on the property, will be open Oct. 20-21, 27-28 and 31 from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. Family hours will also be offered from 4 to 7 p.m. each day.
Frater Sodalis president Brady Hilton, senior visual communication major from Abilene, said the Frats used to host a haunted house that ran for 20 years before the city of Abilene changed some rules and the house had to close.
Turner contacted the club in early October to see if they wanted to help with the project. Although it is a large time commitment for the club, the Frats decided to help run the event.
Jace Gallagher, senior finance major from North Pole, Alaska and Frat treasurer, said in an e-mail they aren’t certain how much money they will make.
“Since this is our first year at this particular site and because most of us are new to this, it is hard to say how much we expect as far as ticket sales. Most of the tickets sold will be at the door, so it is hard to say how much we expect to receive,” Gallagher said Planners said they are looking to donate some of the money earned. The club has printed 3,000 tickets for the event.
“I expect that this will be a very successful event and one that is remembered forever by our current members in club,” Gallagher said.
Not only are they in charge of the story line, they are also in charge of making all the props. Both the expenses and the profits will be split evenly by the social club and Canine Resort.
Construction for the island began recently and to accomplish what they envision for the event, the group will have to put in a lot of hours.
In addition to the work they are doing, advertisements are being put on television and radio stations, in newspapers and on Facebook. Fliers are even being put in to go order bags at Rick and Carolyn’s Burger restaurants.
“There’s never been a haunted island in Abilene,” Hilton said. “It’s the only one outside and the only one within 30 miles besides Jason’s Haunted House.”
What makes it unique also makes for a liability issue.
The boats will have life preservers and Hilton said lifeguards will be present.
The tour will run an estimated 20 minutes per trip and includes a boat ride, a walk through the island and a hayride finale. While customers are waiting to take the tour, a local 4-H club will be selling concessions. During the family hours there will also be games, face painting and prizes.
Tim Connors, senior missions major from Baldwinville, Mass., is the story line director. He said each group has a tour guide to lead them through the island, which features a village theme. The script calls for about 35 actors, but Hilton said the more the better. The main weekend volunteers are needed during fall break, Hilton said.
Children won’t be visiting the island because of safety precautions.
“We want to take every precaution and make sure everyone is safe and has fun at the same time,” Turner said.
Tickets are available online at www.abilenehauntedhouse.com or upon arrival at the dock. Admission is $4 during ‘Family Friendly Hours’ and $7 during regular hours. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Connors at firstname.lastname@example.org.