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Ponca State Park’s Hallowfest Proceeds Go Back to Community

Spooks, Christy Roberts, Sarah Paulos, Kami Murphy
Christy Roberts, Sarah Paulos and Kami Murphy as “spooks” on Ponca State Park’s Hallowfest Haunted Hayrack rides.

Ponca State Park’s 16th Annual Hallowfest enjoyed beautiful fall weather this past Saturday, October 18. Crafts and activities were enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. The park’s main attraction, Haunted Hayrack rides, pulled in over 900 guests. Proceeds from the rides were given back to the surrounding communities through: Ponca Fire and Rescue, Allen Consolidated School’s Junior Class, Ponca High School’s “One Act” group, and the Ponca Honor Society.

The event’s famous pumpkin rolling contest had three age divisions and a bonus “Brutus” division. Winners in the age 6 and under division were J.J.D. in 3rd place, Riley Swisher came in 2nd, and Gidman took 1st place. For the age 7-12 division, Mason M. took 3rd place, Jackson Merkel took 2nd, and Noah J. won 1st place. In the age 13 and older division, Craig G. took 3rd place, Jarod T. came in 2nd, and Tyson Whitehead took 1st place. In the Brutus division, one prize went to Chris Reed.

The best pumpkin carvers were 5-year-old Gunner for the 6 and under division, 9-year-old Lauren Woods for ages 7-12, and 23-year-old Derek N. in the 13 and older division.

Prizes were also awarded to the best decorated campsites and cabin. In Turkey Ridge, campsite #29 decorated by Jared Thompson took 3rd, campsite #15 Dodie McManigal took 2nd, and 1st place went to campsite #14 John MacLean. In Oak Bluff, campsite #39 Debbie Shelton took 3rd, campsite #54 William Kuhn took 2nd, and campsite #68 Nicole Kelsheimer took 1st. The best decorated cabin prize went to cabin “Coyote,” decorated by James Doernemann.

For details on next year’s Hallowfest, contact Ponca State Park at 402-755-2284.

About Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

NEBRASKAland Associate Editor Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and moved to the United States with her parents in 1992. She graduated from Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, California, in 2008 and completed her bachelor’s degree at UCLA in 2012. Wheatley was editor-in-chief for her high school newspaper and continued to write in college, freelancing for various publications, the Tiger Woods Foundation and writing for her blog FoodForHunters.com. After graduating college, she moved to Nebraska in early 2013 to join the Commission as Regional Editor at NEBRASKAland Magazine. She then became associate editor in 2015. Wheatley enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking.

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