Fiery, artistic, dreamy, dark, and daring are just some of the words to describe what Halloween revellers can expect when Caravan Farm Theatre hosts its 16th annual Walk of Terror. This year’s event will not only feature an all-new line-up of community-powered theatre installations but for the first time, will be held over two nights, Oct. 25 and 26.
Friday will be more of a family-friendly night for those who don’t mind a little of the macabre, while Saturday’s walk will cap off with a barn dance led by Calgary nine-piece funk band Freak Motif, says Caravan’s artistic director Estelle Shook.
“The event has been growing every year, and last year, we hit our capacity of around 1,000 people in attendance,” Shook said.
Part Burning Man, part Nuit Blanche and part Day of the Dead processional, the Walk of Terror is not your average Halloween haunted experience.
“It’s a Halloween walk done by a professional company that features professional theatre actors working with volunteers from across the valley to create a full-on immersive experience. It’s intended to be an enriching exchange for both the volunteers and the professional artists,” Shook says.
Besides the high-energy theatrical performance by funk band Freak Motif Saturday night, this year’s walk will feature a spectacle for the eyes with the return of Kelowna’s Kinshira Performance Troupe.
“They are creating a transformative experience with three new installations, which will be featured on both nights of the walk, including fire performance, bubble blowing and stilt walking. It’s a great partnership that brings cirque-style artistry to our beautiful rural location,” Shook said.
Those who embark on the one-kilometre lit trek through Caravan’s forest will be exposed to 15 different “vignettes,” each with a theme that has been worked out by the community group involved. The walk takes approximately 20 minutes without stopping. However, people usually stop to watch the scenes unfold, Shook said.
“Each is like a mini-play with people in costume and makeup, sound and lighting. The scenes loop so you can do the walk a few times and see something different each time,” Shook said. “There are so many rich influences that go into the Walk of Terror. We recycle and re-invent more than 40-years of stock, including our costumes, masks, and sets that have been made by our professional artisans and makers over the years.”
And while the walk is family-friendly, it does feature themes that can be considered spooky, mysterious and creepy.
“There is no violent gore, but it can be nightmarish in an equally beautiful and magical way. We want it to be satisfying for the whole family, but if any children are sensitive to any of those things, we have a warm and wonderful fire-lit area with marshmallows, where the Kinshira bubble-blowing stilt-walker will be stationed. Little ones and their adult can hang out here while other family members do the walk,” Shook said.
More than 100 volunteers are expected to be a part of this year’s walk, including 30 members from the Larch Hills Nordic Club ski racing team.
“Our recruitment technique is to reach out to groups who have not participated before or who are not as familiar with all we do here at Caravan Farm,” Shook said.
Volunteers will work with well-known actors/directors including James Fagan Tait, who played Wanda in this past summer’s production of the Coyotes, as well as Manon Beaudoin, a professional clown and Cirque du Soleil director, who is directing Caravan’s 2019 winter sleigh ride production of the Nutcracker.
“We will also be holding a costume contest on Saturday night with celebrity judges and will have our bonfire going both nights, with free marshmallows and local products for sale, including Farmstrong Cider, Okanagan Spirits and Crannóg Ales,” Shook said.
Gates to the Walk of Terror open Oct. 25 and 26 at 6:30 p.m. Please note there is no live band or barn dance on Friday night. Tickets are $21 for adults and $10.50 for youth under 16 on Friday and $29.40 for adults and $15.75 for youth on Saturday. For more information and tickets, contact the Caravan box office at 1-866-546-8533 or visit caravanfarmtheatre.com.