Written by Michael Coutermarsh
Edited by Mack aka Pubman
For five years as fall approaches, Canobie Lake turns spooky as they launch their Halloween event, Screeemfest. I managed to arrive close to 1pm for opening and entered using a discount ticket I bought opening day. The park was busy without being overly crowded. Weather was comfortable, warmer than your average fall day, which worked out well.
It was a simple plan to hit the rides early and the haunts later. I opted to hit up Equinox as my first ride. This is only my second ride. While I did enjoy the ride a bit better then my first but I really am not a fan. I took some time looking at the outdoor displays as I made my way back to Corkscrew. I finally got a chance to see the newly painted train to go along with the new paint job.
From there I looked over the park while working to meet up with a buddy from The Canobie fan forums. I managed to meet up with him and another member of the site at the Bear Lodge. Over the day I managed to run into or see a number of people I knew, but the three of us were off to check out the rides. Mack (Pubman) and Steve are not really into thrill rides so we rounded the park taking in the many family rides the park has to offer. Later, after splitting up I focused on the more thrilling rides.
My ride count:
I rode only once on Equinox, Over the Rainbow, Dodgems, Zero Gravity, Cannonball, Rowdy Roosters, Xtreme Frisbee, Corkscrew, Pirata, Wipe Out, Star Blaster, Psychodrome, and Caterpillar. I managed to ride Untamed twice.
This was my first time riding Caterpillar since the park rehabbed the ride. The rehab went well and the ride ran very smooth. It is much quieter then it was before. My only complaint is it does seem to run a bit slower, but still has good speed. This trip was also my first ride on the park replacement Pirate ship. They replaced their SDC version that has been in the park since the 80’s. The new ship runs great. It picks up speed fast, extremely quiet, and the ride itself looks amazing. My complaints are that the ride cycle is a bit too short and the tropical island themeing for the ride looks out of place for the vintage/western theme of Old Canobie Village.
There are 2 main shows for Screeemfest but the park also has a blue grass band back by Corkscrew on a stage called the porch. A petting zoo was set up in that area along with a number of hay roll creatures and a small corn maze. The park offers a monster parade featuring all of the walk-around scare actors, hearses, the Ghostbuster car (ecto-1) and more. They really help round out the two main shows.
The Amazingly Freaky Side Show Variety Show!
Some of you may have seen SwingShift SideShow on America’sGot Talent. The show was good. Most of the act was traditional sword swallowing and pins though flesh. They did have a couple unique tricks but if you saw them on TV you already saw it. The show pulled a good crowed and the theme fit the season so It was a good addition.
This is an AC/DC tribute band. It was loud. But I guess you should expect that. I really do not know a lot of AC/DC songs. I only knew a couple songs but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the show. The band was energetic and put on a great show. I personally welcomed the change while the Madonna tribute was good it was getting a bit old.
Dead Shed – This is one of the better haunts at the park. The rooms were rearranged a bit and the beginning was extended. It was nice to see it get a little bigger. The themed smells were working better this year. But the haunt has lost a bit of its intensity from its introduction. I did find this year’s version to have much better lighting and more props. There was also a leg level claustrophobic effect I don’t believe was present last year. I’m hoping this one gets a big rehab next season.
The Village – The haunt was expanded this season and not has a small cut into a seating area for theVillage stage.While the haunt still feels a bit short this was a nice expansion along with a better layout around the walkways. While this slightly longer version was a huge step up from last year, they seem to be missing the mark by failing to use any buildings in the area.
Cannibal Island – This Haunt is located outdoors in the Castaway Island section of the park. The haunt was pretty much the same as last year; bamboo walls, fake vines, themed props, etc. This was my longest wait of the night around 45 minutes, the rest ranged from 15-30 minutes wait. It was fun lots of fog but the haunts feels small and really needs more.
Merriment Inc – This was by far the most improved Haunt in the park. The haunt was completely reworked and has a more fluid layout. It was well staffed and had a few very well placed air burst gags. Best of all was this haunt was expanded. They added proper lighting along the back side to light the boxes which now lead you to the circus tent maze. The attraction has a new finale a vortex Tunnel. It’s about 30ft and works very well. I have wanted one of these since the premier of Screeemfest.
Virus (new for 2013) – This attraction was amazing. The themeing was top notch and the Dancehall made for a good home. The staffing was very good but they haven’t really found their roles yet. A few seemed to have the nearly dead victim figured out. Despite this it was still scary and a lot of fun. After the failed Terror in the Corn and the still weak Cannibal Island/Lake this was a breath of “stale” air. A must hit.
For the first time in a long time I actually bought food. NormallyI just refill my souvenir cup, I got a few years ago, but I was hungry and my friend also wanted to eat. We opted o eat at the Be Bop Dinerwhich is one of the few options available during the season. Money was tight so I opted to just get anorder of Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Fingers and a drink refill. That alone, no fries, was $8.70 after tax. While this isn’t horrible it’s a bit pricy. It would have cost me another around another 3 dollars to get crinkle cut fries, which I am not a fan of. Food is promoted as baskets with fries for $9.95 before tax, which is 9%.
Overall it was a great day; great weather, good friends, scary haunts, and thrilling rides. What more can you ask for? I liked the shows, but will likely skip them on my next visit. It was cold and misty by the end of the day, but in a way that fit the seasonal theme. I will hit the park for closing day for my next trip. A bit sad to think this was my second trip this year and the season is nearly over.