The 2011 edition of Six Flags Great Adventure's Fright Fest marks the 20th anniversary of the event, and to honor that several new attractions have been added to the lineup. Known as "the Northeast's largest Halloween party," Fright Fest has something for everyone - following the family thrills by day - frights by night motto.
Visitors to the park find it dressed in its Halloween finest, with plenty of cobwebs and pumpkins strewn throughout. During the day there's plenty of activities that are great for entire families, even the little ones. A trick-or-treat trail, Mr. Six's Spooktacular Street Party show, and a special animal show called Professor Slither's Creepy Critters are sure to delight the whole family.
New this year is a Haunted Wagon Tales ride that's scare-free during the day, where families can hear a storyteller's twisted tale come to life as they journey deep into the woods near the park. When night falls, the Haunted Wagon takes on a much more sinister vibe, and is most definitely no longer a family attraction!
The park has some unique attractions to share as well, such as Zambora of the Amazon. Located in the observatory once part of the Chiller coaster, the show uses some special effects that allow guests to watch as Zambora shows her true self, only to have her escape during total darkness. The 'pepper's ghost' effect is pretty neat.
When the clock strikes six the entire park begins its transformation into a haunted paradise. The Awakening begins with a parade of sorts that features all the park's ghouls as they head toward the stage for Dead Man's Party. During the show Dr. Fright is resurrected in order to officially start the festivities.
Immediately after The Awakening is the first showing of Dead Man's Party, one of the most beloved Fright Fest attractions the park has. Led by Dr. Fright, the show features a cast of the undead performing a selection of 'dark' songs, complete with elaborate costumes, dancing, and some fire! This show is so popular that people were camping out hours before it started just to get a good seat - so a solid suggestion would be to arrive early for this one.
Great Adventure's Fright Fest has plenty of other live entertainment as well, such as Hypnosteria, which features a mentalist/comic that keeps the audience laughing. New this year is the Demon Barber of Main Street, which features live performances of haunting Broadway songs from shows like Wicked, Sweeney Todd, and Phantom of the Opera.
The area at the end of Main Street is a great place to get scared by a roaming zombie, or perhaps even have your photo taken with them! It can get quite foggy in the area, making it all that much easier for them to come out of nowhere and scare the pants off you!
The bloody fountain area is actually one of several Haunted Midways that the park has. Not official terror trails, these areas do not have entrance fees but are still filled with ghouls. The Lakefront Graveyard is another of these areas where an open casket means a creature is surely nearby. The Lakefront area is also home to the Dead & Local Music Showcase, where local rockers get the chance to show off their skills on the Festival Stage.
Great Adventure's boardwalk area is home to a third Haunted Midway, renamed Psycho Circus during the event. If you have a phobia of clowns, then this is not the place for you! There's plenty of them out hiding in corners and dark spaces, just waiting for the right time to pounce out. The Fight Fest Freakshow also takes place here, direct from Coney Island.
Around the corner from Nitro, set back in the woods that border the park is the Demented Forest terror trail. This is one of the park's true haunted house style mazes, only it takes place outdoors. True to its name, the Demented Forest contains a fantasy-land gone wrong, filled with everything from clowns to Egyptian monsters. There's plenty of old props from the park along the way, too, which is neat to see.
Escape From the Asylum is another haunted attraction, located behind the station for the former Chiller ride. Seeming endless hallways filled with props - and some dangerous mental patients - complete the eerie setting for the attraction. You know it is never a good sign when you hear the click of a chainsaw starting!
Finally, the park has an entirely new haunt this year, named Project XI Mortuary Manor. Located in the closed section of the Golden Kingdom, this expansive attraction's theme is that of a mad scientist who is using his funeral parlor to create flesh eating zombies. It takes great advantage of its secluded setting to really isolate guests and they walk through, and was really filled with a lot of actors - making every turn a step into the unknown.
One of the best parts of Six Flags Great Adventure's Fright Fest is that all your favorite rides are open along with the special Halloween attractions. It is a great time to take a spin on coasters like the all-new Green Lantern, seen above in the darkness of the park.
I'd like to thank the park for having us out again this year for Fright Fest's 20th anniversary. If you are planning a trip I suggest starting with the official website, which has been renovated for this year and has all you need to know for a visit.