I was thrilled to be asked by Gabe and Nikki to cover the Ventura County Fear Grounds inaugural event, on their first ever event night. It’s not too often a large scale event opens in Southern California and we were quite excited to visit.
As you enter the event, you are greeted by “The Dead End” which has lots of tables for eating and drinking as you wait to enter the Fear Grounds. They don’t open the attractions until Dusk so it gives you plenty of time to grab a Taco and some liquid courage. There are even monsters roaming about and some fun photo ops.
Once you are inside the event, there are three main attractions. The Cage, Terror Trail and the Fright Train: Off The Rails.
At Midsummer Scream they had mentioned that the 3 attractions tell a kind of story and to start with The Cage, then the Trail and finally the Train. We didn’t catch any of that and would actually suggest starting with the train as it has low capacity. We waited almost an hour despite walking into the other two attractions.
The Cage is just what it advertises, a cage maze. This is where we had the most amount of talent and they were very enthusiastic and ready to please. Not a whole lot of scenery in this one, but to be honest, it didn’t need it.
The Terror Trail took us about 20-25 minutes to get through. If you are familiar with the Ventura County Fair Grounds, the trail stretches from the very front of the fair grounds, through the horticulture exhibit and quite a few of the warehouses. They use every inch of the fairgrounds for this event and many of the trees that are there every year.
Despite taking about 25 minutes, talent in the trail was minimal as were set pieces. But if you are into long walk-throughs with creepy lighting that sets an amazing mood, then you’ll enjoy this.
Lastly is the Fright Train. Not really a train at all, but a parking lot tram they use for the fair. But that’s fine. This attraction takes you to everywhere else in the fair grounds and has a few show-stop moments (similar to a Hayride). Being right on the beach (literally right on the beach) it’s hard to tell sometimes if the Fright Train has actual fog or “Haunt Fog”. It doesn’t matter.
After taking a bit of an off-road path to the very back of the Fair Grounds you are greeted by some interesting characters, chainsaws and a trek through the animal barn. They’ve used the fans in the barn to great effect and truly created an awesome moment for all to enjoy. If you’ve ever been in an animal barn, you know they have large fans that are supposed to help with the smell and bugs. Well, no weird smells here, but body bags hanging from every blade of the fan. That swing around and barely miss your head and the train itself. It’s a great “What” moment along with the chainsaws I already mentioned.
Overall we did have a lot of fun at the event, but don’t go expecting any amazing scenes or props. This event is all about the feel of the creepy fairgrounds at night, think an old Scooby Doo cartoon.
Thanks again to Gabe and Nikki for inviting me to cover.
For more information about Ventura County Fear Grounds and how to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE!