Looking for a fun way to add some “fright to your night?” Then hurry on over to Tablerock Festival of Salado’s Fright Trail!
This popular Central Texas attraction has thrilled participants for over 18 years. In keeping with the Halloween spirit, Tablerock Festival of Salado’s one-half mile walking trail is transformed into a chilling yet educational literary haunt suitable for all ages.
Tablerock Festival of Salado, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, founded by citizens of Salado and Bell County to manage a 450-seat amphitheater built on 13 acres of land donated by the Goodnight family. Tablerock’s amphitheater, walking trail and park land are favorite outdoor gathering and entertainment spots throughout the year. Tablerock recently produced its 30th year of Salado Legends, written by Jackie Mills.
The notion of creating Fright Trail began when Jackie Mills, a Salado resident and a nationally honored playwright, attended the 1999 Annual Institute of Outdoor Theater Conference in Xenia, Ohio. Hosted by various United States outdoor dramas, this conference is an opportunity to rub elbows with writers, directors, professors, actors, and other notable people from all the 125 outdoor theaters throughout the United States and parts of the rest of the world.
“The 1999 conference was all the buzz in preparation for a session featuring PsychoPath Haunted Trail at the Caesar’s Ford Amphitheater Park,” Mills recalls. The theatrical event was produced by Jan Abel, the Director of Blue Jacket (much like Tablerock’s Salado Legends). The walking path behind the Caesar’s Ford Amphitheater stage was decorated by several dilapidated barns, storage sheds and trees. According to Mills, “A psychopath ran along the eerie setting, through guts and gore, causing startled attendees to scream and shout.” Mills was impressed by the lines of people waiting to attend PsychoPath. With permission from its producer, she was inspired to create a similar experience at Tablerock – without the guts and gore.
Mills subsequently wrote three-minute scripts for about 30 classic fairy tales, poems and plays, and guides with educational facts about their authors. With the help of her talented theatrical team, Tablerock’s Fright Trail was born. The event features classic literature scenes re-enacted by Tablerock actors. Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Raven are included, and attendees meet creatures conjured up by Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, and Washington Irving. A standout attraction at Tablerock’s Fright Trail is the portrayal of the iconic “Headless Horseman,” a character drawn from Irving’s gothic masterpiece, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. There are also fantasy stories such as the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland for younger children.
Come and see! Come and hear!