Established on Route 26 in Mechanic Falls is Harvest Hills Farm (owned by Peter Bolduc and his wife Kathie), notorious for their Corn Maze Adventure (which began in 2008), they have now constructed another trademark to fame: The Gauntlet. After buying Pumpkin Land from Chipman farms of Poland in 2009, Harvest Hills Farms created The Gauntlet, a hayride aimed to scare those whom fixate on being horror-stricken. Now out of season, the hayride was introduced to the public on September 18th, and closed on October 31. Numerous tourist and thrill seeking localists partook in The Gauntlet, and many found it to be as frightening as they had hoped, if not more.
The high end animatronics were marvelous and wicked all at once. At the entrance to the woodland, a mysterious aura illuminates from every shadow of tree and man alike.‘Will the gatekeeper let us in?’, and as soon as you ask your self, the doors separate, and the moon flickers down on the eerie trail the wagon must follow. Later on the course, in a dog house the size of a tool shed, a massive, 5 foot tall, animatronic junkyard dog named “Fluffy” greets you with growls and screeches. At the end of the ride, another rather huge, gatekeeper wishes you well as you leave them all behind in the dust.
Although the animatronics were amazingly realistic and creative, the actors whom performed during the haunted hayride were the stars. Jeff Strout, the creator of The Gauntlet, requested for our very own D’Arcy Robinson to employ local actors and actresses to be coached and taught a script for The Gauntlet. Bolduc also announced that he'd donate money to the drama departments. These entertainers were all given certain rolls to execute. The characters included in The Gauntlet ranged from killer clowns holding chain saws, spiders with screaming victims enveloped in their webbing, a butchering hog, stalker cannibals, and not to mention our own local legend: The Lady in White. This spirit is usually spotted alongside route 26 by passerby's, in the midst of night. Her story is a sorrowful one, as she was murdered on the night of her wedding many years ago. She walks the road searching for a motorist to assist her to her wedding. But in Jeff Strout’s scene found on the hayride, she is but a confused soul wondering in a graveyard, finally arriving to her church. All to find out she has been slaughtered by fellow hayride-ers.
Over all the Gauntlet was a intriqueging and startling enjoyment. Much business has been brought to the area because of it and Harvest Hills Farm’s many enjoyments. The owners have stated how essential it is to bring the 240 acre farm to life once again.
(Photo credits to me)