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Haunted tunnel open again in Ironton

Ironton Lions work hard to make it "scarier than ever"

The Parthenon

Published: Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 19:10

A local organization is opening up a haunted tunnel in October, and it's for a good cause.

The Ironton chapter of the Lions Club has converted the tunnel across from the Ironton Hills Shopping Center into a haunted public attraction.

"This is our club's biggest fundraiser, and every penny goes right back into the community," said Michael Caldwell, publisher of Ironton Publications, Inc. "We are all volunteers so all the proceeds are used to fund the Lions Club's charitable projects, which include: Supporting Ironton in Bloom, the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Committee and the City Mission."

One of the major projects the Lions Club supports is geared toward the vision-impaired.

"We purchase eyeglasses for school children, and every so often, we make donations," said Joe Jenkins, president of the Lions Club. "We'll donate about $8,000 to provide somebody with a Seeing Eye dog. It costs that much to train the dog and allow the owner to train with the dog as well."

The doors for the haunted tunnel will be open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. each Friday and Saturday in October. The cost is $5 per person. The tunnel opens for the first time Friday, Oct. 7.

"We fill it with volunteers dressed up as some of the scariest monsters around," Caldwell said. "The lions have built a maze inside the tunnel that goes in about 200 feet and comes out another 200 feet. And we have a storyteller who tells the legend of the tunnel to each group that enters."

According to Caldwell, this year's haunted tunnel is better than it has been in the past.

"It's scarier than ever," Caldwell said. "After thieves virtually destroyed it over the summer, the club members put in hundreds of hours of volunteer work to rebuild and re-imagine it. Our goal is to make it the best haunted attraction in the entire region."

The tunnel was originally built in the 1850s to quickly move goods in and out of Ironton. Caldwell said the tunnel was used as State Route 75 for many years until State Route 93 was built to replace it.

"The lions have been operating it for about the past 20 years as a one-of-a-kind haunted attraction and fundraiser every October," Caldwell said. "And it is closed throughout the rest of the year."

Amanda Fastuca can be contacted at Fastuca@marshall.edu.

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