Fright at the Fort, the annual Friends’ of Fort Knox, annual Halloween fundraiser, was presented an award Tuesday evening, March 18th, at the Maine Governor’s Conference on Tourism, at the Cross Center, in Bangor. The award recognized, Fright at the Fort, for its unique Creativity and was presented by Commissioner George Gervais, from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. Accepting the award were Leon Seymour, executive director of the Friends and a costumed character from last fall’s Fright at the Fort, the “Plague Doctor.”
Fright at the Fort began in 1999, as a single afternoon event, which was held on the parade grounds of the Fort Knox State Historic site. The event was geared towards school-aged children and featured a costume parade and a few scary props. The event continued this way for several years and raised scant funds.
The Friends’ of Fort Knox executive director encouraged the Board of Directors to move the event into the evening and to gear it towards a scarier experience for older visitors. Since the move to an evening more frightening event, Fright has attracted tens of thousands of visitors and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Last fall, 9,200 visitors attended fright, during a total of 14 hours, which spanned four evenings. Visitors came from all over the State of Maine as well as from Canada and neighboring states. The event grossed nearly $84,000 for the Friends of Fort Knox. Fright proceeds go to Fort preservation and enhancements.
Fright utilizes approximately 100 volunteers and staff each night. Volunteers include the Penobscot Job Corps, Searsport High Drama Club, University of Maine Fraternities and community volunteers.
Several years ago, the Friends of Fort Knox reached out to the Gr. Bucksport Chamber of Commerce to encourage them to create an event that would compliment Fright and draw more people to the area for a longer period of time. It was hoped that the Chamber could build on the thousands already coming for Fright and by creating an adjunct event, have a greater positive impact on local retail, food and lodging businesses.