‘Community Asylum’ howls for charity

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CHESAPEAKE — Who knows what spooks lie in the depths of the Chesapeake Community Center?

The answer will come soon for all daring enough to venture inside.

By daylight the center looks innocuous, even inviting, as it offers a gym with exercise equipment and classes for the area. Anything from kick boxing to Zumba dance classes can be found there.

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But by night, it’s a different story. Or at least that will be the case for three nights at the end of this month.

Then, it will become the “Community Asylum,” and all brave hearts are invited to come see the “inmates” that will fill the basement of the center.

This will be the second year for this unique version of a haunted house and organizers promise it will be bigger and better.

There will be a vampire doctor taking the pulse of the visitors and doing his own version of shock therapy as appropriate asylum patients and personnel scream the night away. The scariest will be protected in spook-proof cages.

“It will be kind of fun,” Ruth Damron, executive director of the center, said. “It’s like in the bowels of the building. Even Freddie Kruger will be paying a visit.”

All this good ole howling fun is for a practical and worthwhile cause, Damron says.

That’s because the proceeds from the scare event will go toward keeping all those who come to the center in the daylight hours a little drier than they are right now.

Simply, the center has a leaky roof and money raised from the haunted asylum will go toward the costs of a patch job.

Located in a former Chesapeake school building that was constructed in 1924, the center needs a new roof — or at least half a new roof. A partial roofing job was put on nine years ago. Now the other half needs help.

About two years ago, costs to replace part of the roof ran to $12,000. A patch job will cost about half that, Damron said.

“We’re trying to patch it until there is money to put on a whole roof,” she said.

The director is hoping there will be a greater response this year than last to the fund-raiser and advises very young children not come for a visit.

But all others are more than welcome to see the crazy folk who will have a nightly meet and greet from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, Tuesday, Oct. 28, and Wednesday, Oct. 29. Cost is $5. For more information contact the center at (740) 867-4532.