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Lions Club lengthens annual scary walk

Halloween will be in the air and in the hills when the ninth annual Lions’ Club Haunted Tunnel opens Thursday from 7 to 10 p.

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Halloween will be in the air and in the hills when the ninth annual Lions’ Club Haunted Tunnel opens Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. across from the Ironton Hills Shopping Plaza.

"We have about a third new attractions," Haunted Tunnel co-chairman Shawn Walker said. "We try to change that much each year so we can have a complete turnover every three years. That’s not to say that we don’t bring some of the old favorites out of retirement as well."

The Lion’s Club set an all-time record a year ago catering to more than 5,600 people. This year, Walker wants more.

"We’ll break the record. We have every year," Walker said. "We had people come from Charleston (W.Va.), Lexington (Ky.) and Columbus. On one night alone, we stayed open until 1:30 in the morning and ran over 1,200 people through. We get bigger and better every year."

Rusty Mittendorf is the other chairman and he said even though it is by far the biggest fundraiser the Lions Club has, they want the experience to be painless.

"We try to make it affordable for the family," Mittendorf said. "We have found our niche here. I’ve never heard of a haunted tunnel anywhere."

The club has looked to make the tunnel a little longer walk – stretching the attraction back to the opening.

"We never thought we would ever get to the back of the tunnel, but now we are making possible plans to use the apron back there," Mittendorf said. "Next year, we are going to move the front forward and give the opening a whole new look."

Walker said the amount of work that the tunnel requires is massive.

"It takes more than 70 people a night to run it," he said. "You can’t beat warm bodies. This is not wax museum style."

The Haunted Tunnel opens weeknights 7-10 p.m. and 7 until late on the weekends and runs through Halloween. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for students.

Parking is only available across Ohio 93 in the Ames parking lot where shuttles will be run back and forth.