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Volunteers prepping haunted tunnel

Last year nearly 4,000 people got their adrenalin pumping in the Ironton Lions Club‘s Haunted Tunnel.

The ghosts, goblins, zombies and hideous clowns and other frights will return again for the opening of the spooky attraction Friday, Oct. 4.

Until then, Lions Club members will use September to clean and refurbish the horrific scenes in the historic State Route 75 highway tunnel, an effort that organizers say is an important fundraiser for the civic group.

“Our haunted tunnel is the only fundraiser we have,” Lou Pyles, Lions member, said. “All the ‘victims’ who come in and pay to go through our tunnel, that money is turned back into our community. Scholarships, we take care of eyeglasses for children up to age 18. If a child needs (eye) surgery, we get that taken care of.”

People who buy a ticket for the tunnel also help the Lions Club donate funds to local food pantries, the Ironton Little League, city health department, sponsor a team for ronton In Bloom and Gus Macker, and the Ironton City Welfare Mission.

“The City Mission has always been our main contribution because we have always supported them and taken care of donations to help feed the people in our community,” Pyles said.

Pyles said people from all around visit the haunted tunnel each year, and have come from as far away as Mt. Sterling, Ky., Columbus and Cincinnati.

This year, Lions members have already starting putting hours in prepping the rooms in the tunnel.

The Gold Wing Riders Association will spruce up its vine room attraction this year, Pyles said of the group that raises money for pediatric brain tumor research.

“You really can’t see anybody in there,” Pyles said. “It’s really frightening. They have their monsters in vine costumes.”

Pyles said the club takes great pride in the tunnel and in April, the attraction was recognized at the Lions Club International convention in Germany.

“We thought that was wonderful, in Germany, that our small town and club was mentioned and they talked about how we do this to raise money for our community and what all we do with the money,” Pyles said.

This year’s tunnel opens Oct. 4 and will be open each Friday and Saturday in October from 7 to 11 p.m. The cost is $5 per person.

“We invite everyone to come out and let us give them a really good scare, and bring their friends,” Pyles said.