One of Sedalia's most popular annual Halloween events takes place this weekend at the Missouri State Fairgrounds. The Sedalia Noonday Optimist Club's Haunted Hayride is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on October 27.

"This is one of our biggest fundraisers that we do every year," said club member Jason Meyers. "It's been going on since probably the early to mid-80s. It started out as the haunted forest that used to be out by the old rock quarry, and then we moved it to the fairgrounds. It's a little bit more of a controlled environment, a safer environment, for families. We average around 700, but we've had over 1,000 people."

"A lot of moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas bring the kids out, it's just a fun time," said John Schwenk. "It's a popular event. I think most moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas know it's a safe place to bring their child out. We do have a long line. I think they get their money's worth. We're going to have four or five trucks and trailers, so we try to take as many people as we can."

This fundraiser goes toward youth programs and projects. "We do a lot of contributions to different organizations in town, and we've got to have fundraisers like this to keep it going."

Other local organizations will also be participating as "haunting groups" during the hayride. "I contact school groups, boy scouts, girl scouts, various groups every year," said Meyers. "They come, they volunteer their time from their organizations, and then our club makes a donation to their group. They can even use that for their service hours that they have to do in schools. This year I have nine groups. Two of them that I know of are actual adult groups. We're always looking for new groups and new volunteers to help out."

The 2018 Haunted Hayride is $5 for adults and $4 for children. Kids 5 and under are free. The hayride, a hot dog, chips, drink and candy are included with tickets. Tickets are not available in advance for this year's hayride. Tickets will be sold at the event only.

Sedalia Noonday Optimist Club via Facebook
Sedalia Noonday Optimist Club via Facebook

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