Fortune teller

Volunteers dress as character and offer activities throughout the living history park. Here one of the Friends of Schumacher Farm County Park plays a fortune teller during the 2019 event.

Every year, volunteers with Schumacher Farm County Park transform the grounds into a family friendly Halloween venue, with characters throughout staffing a number of otherworldly activities. Halloween at the Farm is a labor of love for the Friends of Schumacher Farm and others who help host the event.

“The decorating of buildings took several days for us when I was president,” said Rosa Ropers, former Friends of Schumacher Farm Park president. She remembered creating a witch house out of the granary and a spooky story-time venue at the chicken coop. The hog house became a fortune-teller room.

“The antique tractor with the skeleton driver was always one of my favorite decorations,” Ropers said.

After a year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween at the Farm will return on Oct. 23 with many volunteers returning. Dave Ripp will again tend to the fire where families can roast marshmallows for s’mores. He ensures he has enough wood on hand and that kids don’t get too close to the flames.

“I love seeing all the enthusiasm with the kids,” Ripp said, adding the costumes are fun to watch. Some elaborate designs can be a bit unwieldy, though, like 4-foot wings that don’t fit into the storyteller room, he said.

“Every year, you get the kids who loves to watch the marshmallows burn. I understand it’s a fascination, but it really messes up your s’mores,” Ripp added.

Mary Gimber, who has volunteered as the witch in the granary, will be back selling tickets.

“I just feel like it’s an old-fashioned, good-natured get-together for the people who come,” Gimber said.

She also noted the park’s scenic natural setting. It sits on a hilltop, surrounded by open skies.

“I was helping one time at a tent where people were decorating small pumpkins. I happened to be at the right place at the right time for a glorious orange sunset. The sky was orange, and everything in black was in silhouette,” Gimber said.

Waunakee High School students also have volunteered, reciting the Witches Song, “double, double, toil and trouble,” from Shakespeare’s “MacBeth” around a cauldron, Gimber remembered.

The spooky wagon rides through the prairie are always popular, Ropers said.

“There would be long lines waiting to enjoy that ride. Area tractor drivers would volunteer to drive wagons of visitors. One driver even came from Poynette as he enjoyed being a part of the festivities,” Ropers said.

Hayrides begin at 6 p.m. this year, and passengers will likely pass the not-too-scary ghouls along the way.

The fall festivities begin at 4 p.m. at the living history park just east of Waunakee on Hwy. 19. Families can also look forward to old-fashioned games and crafts, live music in the barn, face painting and more.

Volunteers are always needed for the event. Anyone interested can email events.schumacher@gmail.org

or call (608) 849-4559.

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