Ringgold’s annual Haunted Depot will kick off Friday night, Oct. 14, and is prepared to terrorize the community for three straight weekends in October. This year’s Haunted Depot will be Ringgold’s 10th installment of the event, which is designed and orchestrated by city staff and volunteers.
The seasonal attraction offers Halloween-themed entertainment for all ages by not only turning the Depot into a haunted house, but also offering live entertainment, haunted ghost rides, hay rides with bonfire and great food for everyone.
“This is our 10th Haunted Depot, and we have seen growth each and every year,” said city manager Dan Wright. “This is a family-oriented event that promotes community. We always receive great cooperation from our school systems as well.”
Getting the Depot ready for a fright is always the duty of city Parks and Recreation director Stephen Middlebrooks, whose team spends two weeks building the haunt inside the Depot, and even begins the design process months prior to the build.
“Over the years we've collected a lot of props, masks, and other surprises for people,” Middlebrooks said. “We're always trying to find a new use for things, and it's always a lot of fun. People love a good scare.”
Randall Franks, Downtown Development Authority chairman said the event is one of the city’s most popular events and draws thousands of people into the community over several weekends.
"Over the years, as I volunteered, I have seen generations of families come together to enjoy one of the activities, finding the opportunity to build memories that will last a lifetime,” Franks said.
While the Haunted Depot offers plenty of spooky fun, the purpose of the event is to raise funds for the city's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to assist in making improvements through the community.
“We appreciate the support of our corporate sponsors,” Wright said. “Without their financial support, volunteer hours, and equipment, this event would not be the huge success it has become.”
Corporate sponsors include Ringgold Telephone Company, First Volunteer Bank, and Graham Dental.
Extra outside activities include the ghost tours, hayride, bonfire, free face-painting for children, and free nightly live entertainment. The Ringgold Police Department will be offering a variety of products at their booth located at the venue and others will offer a variety of favorite seasonal foods, drinks and other items.
“The Ringgold Police Department looks forward to participating with the Haunted Depot event every year, and it is truly humbling to have the opportunity to interact and serve the people here in our community,” City of Ringgold Police, Chief Dan Bilbrey said.
The event will also include a coloring contest for grades K-5. First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded in K-first grade, grades 2-3, and grades 4-5. First place winners will also have their artwork framed.
Dates for the event are Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29. Doors open at 7 p.m. each evening.
Tickets are $8 for the Haunted Depot, $7 for the Ghost Tours, $3 for the hayride and bonfire. Combo tickets for everything at the event may be purchased for $15.
Visit cityofringgold.com or call 706-935-3061 for more information.