As volunteer directors Mary Ellen Rippe and Bill Flannery prepare for Fear Factory’s fourth season, they have “identified some tremendous assets in our community and formed an idea that, if we all work together, we can exploit the opportunity for all of our businesses” and make the city an autumn destination, Batesville City Council President Gene Lambert told other members July 14.
Right now it’s called Batesville Boo Fest and could help the city become “a destination for family fun and fright” and capitalize on some of the $1.6 billion spent on Halloween, the next biggest holiday after Christmas, Flannery pointed out. The collaboration between the city, businesses and Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce would take place during the six weeks leading up to Oct. 31.
It’s a major project “I’m excited and very passionate about,” said Flannery, a Batesville Board of Works member. “Batesville has some great fall and Halloween events all independent of each other.” He would like to see them linked so tourists could spend an entire day or weekend here.
“We have the Vogt Farm Pumpkin Festival, a 19-year event.” He reported 8,000-10,000 attend each season “and it’s growing.” He observed a TV documentary deemed The Sherman House a haunted hotel. The nonprofit Fear Factory, whose proceeds benefit Cierra’s Club, which provides safe entertainment choices for teens that do not include drugs or alcohol, also is increasing its presence. With 2,000 visitors last year, he and Rippe are hoping for 3,000 this time around, “the majority not from Batesville.
“What we want to do is capture those people to visit the rest of Batesville” and spend money. He had other ideas. Perhaps the Gibson Theatre could show scary movies. Christian’s Kinder Laden has “great Halloween costumes” that could appeal to tourists.
He emphasized, “Not one business will be spotlighted. Many businesses want to be on the committee.”