Spooky move: Haunted barn find its way to Norway fairgrounds

Mary Dierkens-Clark, left, and Missy Dierkens-Spade display one of their outdoor photo areas at the annual Haunted House. This year’s event will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. today and again Friday and Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Norway. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

NORWAY — Those looking for frights this Halloween season can get their annual scare fix at the Haunted House at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Norway.

Formerly the Haunted Barn in Waucedah, the display will be open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. today and again on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 31.

Missy Dierkens-Spade and her mother, Mary Dierkens-Clark, relocated the annual event they’ve hosted since 2017 to the fairgrounds for the first time.

Attendees will make their way through a haunted path that goes the full length of the exhibition buildings near the grandstands.

“It’s a great space — why not use it?” Dierkens-Clark said.

Mary Dierkens-Clark and Missy Dierkens-Spade work on a photo setting for the annual Haunted House in the exhibition building at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Norway. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

Dierkens-Spade spent a lot of time at the fairgrounds while growing up. “I really love it here. They have so many cool buildings,” she said. “It’s perfect to have it here.”

Fair board member John Degenaer has been very supportive of their efforts to bring the Haunted House to the fairgrounds, noting he would like to see more things done with the complex, they said.

“He said, ‘Let’s use it as often as we can,'” Dierkens-Spade said.

The shift also makes the event more accessible to the public, they said.

“We have people coming from a distances — this move makes it a little easier for them,” Dierkens-Clark said.

They first had the notion for the haunted house four years ago because they wanted to do something that would be fun and reasonably priced for families in the community. While attendance was quiet in the first few years, interest really jumped last year.

“It’s something my whole family can do together — including my teenagers,” Dierkens-Spade said. “And I get to make memories with my mom.”

They began converting the fair buildings into a haunted house the second week of September.

Both are very creative when it comes to decorating. Each section has a different subject or theme, including a cemetery, cornfield and dinner table.

“With the different space, different ideas came to us,” Dierkens-Clark said.

Cathy LeBeau, who formerly had the Haunt on the Hill display, donated several pieces, including a coffin.

They hope to give everyone a scarier experience this year. Guests walking through will be greeted by several “live props.”

“The kids really get a kick out of getting everyone to scream,” Dierkens-Spade said.

At the end of the haunting adventure, they have set up several photo areas, indoors and outside, including a wood coffin, skeleton boards, a lighted creepy scene and outdoor hay bales decorated with pumpkins.

Children can also enjoy an outdoor maze, “The Unenchanted Forest.”

“The kids really enjoyed that last weekend and spent a lot of time in there,” Dierkens-Spade said.

Many aren’t in a hurry to leave, Dierkens-Clark added, because they are enjoying themselves so much.

Several tents as well as the gazebo will be set up to protect guests from the rain or snow. They also will have several heaters and a bonfire to keep warm.

Hayrides will be offered as well, weather permitting.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun — especially the nights of the event,” Dierkens-Clark said.

They were unsure about hosting the event this year due to the coronavirus pandemic but received a lot of positive feedback to do it, they said.

They do ask that those attending follow safety practices by social distancing and wearing a facemask.

“Last week, we were impressed by everyone following the rules,” Dierkens-Clark said.

Concessions of hot drinks and treats will be available as well.

Admission is $5 per person, which includes access to the haunted house, maze, bonfire and hayrides.


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