Headless Horseman festival haunts Conner Prairie

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Conner Prairie has brought back a fall favorite. The Headless Horseman festival began Oct. 10. Remaining dates are Oct. 17-20 and Oct. 24-27.

Conner Prairie Director of Affairs Christine DeJoy said the event grows in popularity as Halloween gets closer.

“What’s nice, too, here is how the leaves change,” she said. “If you come to the festival in the beginning of October and decide to come again, it’s almost like two different Conner Prairies. The colors gradually change and it’s just so pretty.”

Besides the Headless Horseman attraction, where a “headless” rider on horse scares hayriders, other activities include a barrel train rides for toddlers, midway games, a Headless Horseman marionette show, spooky story-telling and a 12-acre corn maze. In addition, the Hamilton County Tourism sculpture of the “White River Monster” will be on-site. There also will be a make-and-take station near the monster for families to make crafts.

Per the corn maze, DeJoy suggests older children participate in the scary section at night.

“At night during Headless, the scary section of the maze is activated, so if you’re a bit older, its best,” she said. “It’s not for young kids. It can get a little scary in there. We tried it last year for the first time.”

The corn maze and all activities are included with admission to the Headless Horseman festival. Admission is $13 on Thursdays and Sundays, and $17 on Fridays and Saturdays. Presale tickets, at the same prices, are available online. Gates are open from 6 to 9 p.m., but DeJoy said the hayride can be out until 10 p.m.

“Nothing changes, but daylight versus night time adds scare to (the hayride),” DeJoy said.

DeJoy said the event has become a Fishers family tradition.

“It’s a great way to experience Conner Prairie in a whole new light than if you come during the day for the historical areas. It’s a completely different experience,” she said. “It’s beautiful here at fall with the leaves changing and the colors so vibrant. It’s a great, different way to experience Conner Prairie and also to make family memories. The Headless Horseman festival is a popular tradition in the area.”

To purchase advance tickets or see a full list of offerings, visit connerprairie.org

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