Rex B. Hamilton reports on the 2012 Great Lakes Fright Fest

June 6, 2012

Greetings, Fellow Haunters:

Nearly 400 people attended the Great Lakes Fright Fest in Petersburg, Michigan this past weekend. I was one of them, and I was spooky.

I could not attend in 2010 and 2011 because the dates conflicted with Midwest Haunters Convention in Columbus. I met a number of other attendees who had to make the same unpleasant choice of which convention not to attend. This year we all can enjoy both since GLFF was last weekend and MHC is this coming weekend.

Kkrazy Kkaren Taylor is the big boss of Great Lakes Fright Fest. Her “keeper” is husband Brian. There were many volunteers that ran around all weekend and made sure that things stayed on track. Remember, this convention is held at a campground and at the pleasure/displeasure of Mother Nature.

She wasn’t very happy on Thursday and Friday here in the lower Great Lakes. It was gloomy, chilly, quite windy but hardly any raindrops. From time to time big gusts of wind would blow away things all weekend. Piles of plastic dinner plates and other supplies were blown out of the pavilion on Sunday afternoon. While eating lunch on Saturday a blast of wind blew my bowl of chilli mac off the table and showered it all over the ground behind me. No clothing was soiled.

But on Saturday and Sunday, Mother Nature was in a much better mood. She gave us sunny skies and much warmer temperatures. By 10 AM on Saturday most of us were able to ditch our hoodies and sweatshirts. As in years before there were classes throughout the day, kids activities and make-and-takes. The enormous door prize giveaway was computerized this year. I’m sure there were more than 100 door prizes distributed. I hardly saw any details about the lengthy auction that followed the big potluck Saturday dinner because I was getting uglified for the haunted house. Those big wind gusts, though, were always with us.

New this year was an acting troupe called The Ring of Steel who taught the final class on Saturday afternoon and provided the queue-line entertainment at the haunted house later that night. They are a combat team - bullwhips, sword-fighting, stunts and the like. Kkaren told us that they have been asked back for 2013.

I had two big tasks at GLFF: teach a class on acting late Saturday afternoon and frighten people in the haunted house.

The business of frightening people in a haunted house is easy for me. It’s like falling off a log. All I do is make myself look disgusting (Jeff Glatzer created the piece I wore that evening) and tear into the crowd and never stop. The haunt was open from 9:30 PM until just about midnight.

Teaching a class, a good class, is not easy. Mine was called “Ten Questions About Haunted House Acting.” The questions were provided at random from people who planned to attend my talk. I decided to change things up and approach each question from the point of view of a home haunter. Attendance at the start of the session wasn’t so good, but it more than doubled at the ten minute mark. I was pleasantly surprised.

These are the big donation numbers:

907.5 pounds of pet food (a record)
1139 cans of human food (not a record)
Cash donations to the animal shelter (a record)

The rest of my time was spent goofing off and not paying attention to much of anything. I shot about 200 photographs and the best ones will end up on my Facebook page.

What I tell people is that GLFF is the most relaxing show on the haunted-house convention circuit. The producers like to boast that it is a family reunion of haunters. I happily agree

Very truly yours,

Rex B. Hamilton

13939 Clifton Boulevard
Lakewood, Ohio 44107-1462

Haunted-house actor is not an entry-level position. (Roger “Ichabod” Miller)