Experience a boo-tiful Halloween at Centennial

SAJRD Executive Director Mike McMahon, Taron, Lynn, and Keoni Gibson, and SAJRD Venue Director Eddie Jensen take notes from the Gibsons regarding the setup of the ‘Woodland Lane Ghostyard’ at Centennial Terrace.

“Come on out to Centennial Terrace for a good old fashioned Halloween treat … not scary, but spooky and lots of fun with some awesome goodies to eat and drink,” invited Sylvania Recreation District’s Executive Director Mike McMahon. “And, best of all, for the very brave of heart, you can get up close to the Woodland Lane Cemetery, (only if you dare!!)”
This Halloween extravaganza takes place the last two weekends in October. Families of all ages can participate in the revelry from Oct. 20 through Oct. 22 and Oct. 27 through Oct. 30. Hours are 5 to 10 pm on Fridays; 11 am to 10 pm on Saturdays; 1 to 9 pm on Sundays. Monday, Oct. 30 hours are 5 to 9 pm.
In addition to SAJRD’s newest attraction, the Woodland Lane Cemetery, courtesy of the Gibson family, many other activities will also be available.
According to Sylvania Recreation’s Special Events Manager Julie Emerine, there will be a lighted mini golf course and bounce houses for children of all ages. The first weekend features a petting zoo. A costume contest for children and adults will be held on Friday, Oct. 27 starting at 6:30 pm with lots of prizes for an assortment of categories. Adults and kids alike are encouraged to register and then carve a pumpkin and bring to Centennial where it will sit in a place of honor framing the real honest-to-goodness skeleton band taking cues for Vince Croci better known as “VC the MC” who will provide the musical entertainment. The winning pumpkin carver will take home a Ring doorbell courtesy of Guardian Alarm Co. Emerine promises that other prizes will also be awarded to runner-up carvers.
Along with the fall decorations, donuts and cider from Gust Brothers Farm will be available as well as other treats including caramel apples, caramel corn, and cotton candy. For adults, there will be seasonal beers.
This Sylvania Halloween tradition continues thanks to the efforts of many. When Lynn Gibson announced that she and her family were moving to Athens, Texas she posted on social media that she wanted to find a good home for the “Woodland Lane Centenary,” a Halloween display she and her husband, Keoni, have been creating for the past 15 years. Soon after, neighbor Dave Spiess was at the Gibson’s door. “Let’s talk,” he said.
From that initial conversation the Woodland Lane Cemetery found its new home with Sylvania Recreation. Spiess, a health insurance specialist, former Sylvania School board member and SylvaniaRec board member is also an intense Halloween aficionado whose annual fall front lawn display rivals the best. He had the foresight to keep this tradition alive.
About the Woodland Lane Cemetery
Lynn and Keoni Gibson have lived on Woodland Lane for the past 25 years. When their son Taron was 6 years old, the Gibsons took him trick or treating. He had been diagnosed with epilepsy at 15 months of age and the Gibsons wanted to have their son live as normal life as possible. However, that Halloween, their son had a seizure when he encountered a strobe light on a neighbor’s house. “Right then, we decided to create something Taron and other children can safely enjoy,” Lynn Gibson said. “We started with a graveyard and tombs. The next year we added more. Every year we added something else. I would draw the plans and my husband would make my plans happen. He can make and fix everything.”
One of the display highlights is the western skeleton town, complete with an outhouse, undertaker, saloon, barber shop, church, and a general store. Each of the buildings has a “skeleton” crew engaged in an appropriate manner.
“We are so pleased that Sylvania Rec has taken our Woodland Lane Cemetery over. This is the perfect solution. The display is in excellent hands and will continue and even be better,” Gibson promised.
“This is going to be a great experience filled with spooky not scary family fun and entertainment,” McMahon stated. “We so appreciate the Gibson family for entrusting Sylvania Rec to keep this long-time Sylvania Halloween tradition going.”
Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children. Active military admission is free.
Goblin Gallop
The annual Goblin Gallop will also be held on Saturday, Oct. 28 starting at 9 am in the Centennial parking lot. Participants can enjoy the Halloween experience inside of Centennial Terrace after they finish their run. The entry fee is $20 and includes a T-shirt, chip timing, and individual awards for top finishers. Registration deadline is Oct. 17. The 100-meter dash is for PreK; the half-mile run is for children grades K-3; and the one-mile run is for children grades 4-6. Races for children K and 1 will start at 9 am; second and third grade at 9:20 am; fourth through sixth grade at 9:40 am; and Pre-K starts following the last race.
Visit http://www.centennialterrace.org for more information on the Woodland Lane Cemetery at Centennial Terrace or the Goblin Gallop.

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