Life and Religion
|Fear Farm: Harvesting screams, not produce in Johnston County|
|Going all out for Halloween tradition|
|Published Wednesday, October 30, 2019 5:45 am|
|PHOTO | MEDIA HUB|
|At Boyette Family Farms, Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year, with actors getting into character.|
During the day, Boyette Family Farms is a picture of fall: a pumpkin patch, a hayride and a tall grass maze.
But by night, the family farm becomes the Fear Farm, a haunted scream park. You can still go on a hayride or get lost in the maze, but there is no telling what or who you might find around the corner.
Or behind you.
Maybe with a chainsaw.
Although you’re always guaranteed to find Kimberly Boyette. She’s a general manager along with her sister, Anna, and her mom, Bonnie. It’s still a family operation.
“Staying true to who we are and where we’re from has been important,” Kimberly said.
Kimberly’s father, Glenn, passed away four years ago, but the Fear Farm was his vision.
It’s an example of agrotourism, which gets people out on a farm who normally wouldn’t go. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture says there has been an 89% increase in agrotourism in the last decade. So, haunted farms are more common now, but when Mr. Boyette had the idea almost 20 years ago, they were virtually unheard of.
“We’re pretty much a well-oiled machine when it comes to scaring,” Kimberly said. “But if you turn back the clock, we started with one haunted house and maybe five or seven actors.”
She says that when she was a kid working in the strawberry field, she never thought she would be designing horror houses.
“But here we are, and we don’t look back,” Kimberly said.
And every year, their customers come back, some all the way from Virginia, and they can hear the screams from the parking lot.
It’s an October tradition for locals like Ashley Ream, too.
“I’ve loved it since I was a teenager,” Ream said. I love coming here every year, and I’m really excited to be working here this year.”
Ream is taking tickets outside of the Haunted Maze, but even she gets her fair share of scares.
“Pretty much everybody that comes out comes out running and screaming,” Ream said.
And that’s because actors like Louis Brady are always ready to spook.
“It’s very exciting, especially when they get really scared, because it makes me feel really good inside,” Brady said. “I jump out at them, and they run.”
Brady and his fellow actors will be waiting for you until Halloween night. After that, the Boyettes will start reimagining for next October.
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