MORRISBURG – A spectacular, warm fall paired with a creative flair for the artistic and a sense of the macabre has helped St. Lawrence Parks attractions report some record setting achievements at two fall events.
The dazzling artistry of Upper Canada Village’s Pumpkinferno artists resulted in a record season with 74,763 visitors (more than the past two seasons combined) over its five week run, smashing previous attendance highs of 38,000. New Canada 150 themed displays captivated crowds making 2017 arguably visitors’ favourite year so far. For local businesses, the event provided an important boost to the economy with an estimated $8.6 million in economic impact* up over $4.0 million in 2016.
At Fort Henry, a revamped spine-tingling theme based on a nightmare thrilled visitors. Fort Fright reported an attendance high of 23,087 visitors over just 23 nights of operation, an increase of 4% over last season. Fort Fright generates an estimated economic impact of $2 million.
“At Pumpkinferno, so many aspects of the event aligned this year – the weather, the artistry of our team and the addition of Canada 150 themes which really resonated with visitors – all of these pieces contributed to making this year our biggest year yet. With the larger crowds we also made adjustments to flow visitors into parking areas quicker and through the gates more efficiently.” said Tracey Ogilby, Acting Manager, Upper Canada Village
“Each year our special events team creates a new vision for the scare experience at Fort Fright. We have to surprise our visitors and keep them guessing about what’s around the next corner. This year we also introduced timed entry ticketing so that we could manage visitor flow better and maximize engagement for everyone. We are pleased with how it worked.” said Dawn Ellis-Thornton, Manager, Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada
However, neither of the teams will be resting up just yet as tear down began immediately to get ready for the winter events set to open on December 1. Both sites are on short timelines to transform into Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village and Lumina Borealis at Fort Henry.
“Quite a bit of the set-up for the equipment and hardware that is used for Lumina Borealis was completed in September during Fort Fright set-up. This year Lumina Borealis will feature an engaging storyline that will include experience markers along the tour route to draw people into the story and encourage them to look for different features and characters. We are looking to connect with our visitors and create a memory.” said Geoff Waycik, Manager of Historic Sites, St. Lawrence Parks
Other changes visitors can expect to see at Lumina Borealis will be in the Frost Parade area that will include a bigger, more interactive zone. It will be extra child friendly (e.g. some aids to help little ones launch the Frozzinator balls) with a family oriented environment providing more warming areas such as fire pits and warming huts making it an inviting area to spend some time. Guests can even stop by a real 1860s style bakery for some freshly baked goodies!
Lumina Borealis will be open on Friday through Sunday plus special holiday nights from December 1 to February 19.Tickets go on sale Friday, November 3 online at www.luminaborealis.com. Pricing: Adult/Senior $16, Youth $12. Children 5 years and younger are free. All prices are plus HST.
Alight at Night will be open on select nights (Thursday through Sunday) from December 1 to 21 and then nightly from December 21 to January 6, 2018. Closed on December 24 and 25. The Accessibility night (reservations are required) is on Wednesday, December 6 and provides guests unable to walk the site the opportunity to drive through Alight at Night led by a Village employee.
NEW this year at Alight at Night, the Village fairgrounds will be transformed into Twinkle Town, a magical setting of winter-themed play areas for wee ones, all set among twinkling, musical trees!
Alight at Night tickets are on sale at www.alightatnight.ca. Pricing: Adult (13+ yrs) $15.95; Senior $13.95; Youth (5-12 yrs) $11.95. Children 5 years and younger are free.. All prices are plus HST.
The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, an agency of the Government of Ontario, operates facilities in 16 municipalities stretching from Kingston to the Quebec border, including Upper Canada Village, Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada (part of Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site), Kingston Penitentiary Tours, Crysler Park Marina, Upper Canada Golf Course, Skywood Eco Adventure, Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary and 13 campgrounds and beach day-use picnic areas including the Long Sault and 1000 Islands Parkway.