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SwineFest to possess a haunted theme

Aug. 23, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- You've seen them in novels, on TV and have maybe even seen them on the silver screen. Now the zombies have reached Huntington.

Known for its imaginative themes, SwineFest, the block-party that Rick Simmons and friends built back in 2007, is blowing up this weekend as SwineFest 2012 "Guyandotte Gets Scared" starts Thursday, Aug. 23, and runs through Saturday, Aug. 25, in the Huntington neighborhood.

Birthed back in 2007 with one roasted pig, three bands and a little more than 100 people in attendance, SwineFest hopes to draw a few thousand over three days with a weekend of zombie and paranormal-themed events in addition to the street fair and music.

Friday, dinners will be served from 5 to 8 p.m. at the VFW Post 9738 on Main Street, Myers Amusements start Midway rides at 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and from noon to 5 p.m., and noon to 5 and 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday as well.

After a 5 p.m. auction on Friday, Historic and Haunted Guyandotte Tours will lead a 6 p.m. "Shadows of the Night" tour.

Also Friday there will be local wrestling, live music by Burning Ridge (southern rock) at 7 p.m., comedy at 8 p.m., followed by Gary Sellards and The Stoned Country Band at 9 p.m.

At midnight Friday, there will be a live ghost hunt led by the Lawrence County Ghost Hunters at an undisclosed location. Four members of the public will be chosen to assist in the hunt.

Saturday, Aug. 25, the street fair and VFW pork dinners start at noon, entertainment includes a 2 p.m. UWA Wrestling matinee, Gary Sellards and Stoned Country at 6 p.m., evening wrestling at 6 p.m., and another "Shadows of the Night" ghost tour.

Featured events Saturday night include a Zombie Walk at 7 p.m. Registration fee is $5 and the funds will be used to purchase hams for needy families during the Easter Holiday. Make-up, clothing and zombie teeth will be available for a minimal price.

SwineFest president, Rick Simmons has set a goal for 200 zombies to be involved in the Zombie Walk and has stated the Zombie Walk has the possibilities of becoming an annual event.

"We are playing it off that the International Zombie Alliance have indicated they are going to attack Guyandotte and Huntington Paranormal is coming to the rescue," Simmons said. "Guyandotte is building up a response team to respond to the zombie attack. They're all mad at Rick Simmons for trying to imitate one of the zombies last year and they are extracting revenge."

Immediately after the zombie walk, there will be some more monster mashing, figuratively, as Huntington radio icon, Jack O'Shea will DJ a free Zombie Dance on the grounds of the Madie Carroll House. Starting at 8 p.m., The Madie Carroll House will host tours of the house that will include voices of the past. A ghost hunt will also take place at midnight.

Kala DeHart and River Town play at 8 p.m., and at 9 p.m. there will be a version of Guyandotte Fear Factor.

Theresa Racer, a member of Huntington Paranormal said they're excited for the weekend events.

The active group whose dozen or so members have been hosting free, and always sold-out ghost tours of Guyandotte for the past four years, is going all out for this weekend.

They've invited Cemetery Knight's Hearse Club out of Charleston to bring up several vintage hearses to display from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Madie Carroll House.

There will be Tarot Card Readings from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. They will also be raffling off eight Paranormal-themed gift baskets.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, there will be a special Zombies-Only Ghost Tour that will depart from the back yard of the Madie Carroll House.

"We knew this was going to be the theme two years ago, and this year we are kicking it up a little bit and have joined the Zombie Defense Squad," Racer said.

Racer, who runs the website, Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State, will be debuting her first book: "Haunted Huntington, Vol. I" that showcases artwork of the alleged Fifth Street Hill ghost on the cover. HPIR president Melissa Stanley did the photography for the book as well as some of the research.

Limited available preview copies of the book will be available for $10. The book features haunted stories and investigations from such places as Colonial Lanes, the Frederick Hotel and Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center. It will be available soon at www.amazon.com.

"It all started four years ago when we approached Guyandotte Civil War Days with the idea and we thought maybe 30 people would show up for a tour," Racer said. "We had 300 sign our guestbooks that night, so now we have our own business license. This is the first year we have done spring full moon tours and so we now try to coordinate with all the major events in Guyandotte. Our group motto is we share Huntington's history one story at a time and we have both a love of the paranormal and history and we want to bring that to the community. Even though we've been doing it for four years, that is why all of our tours are still free."



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