The Sinister Tombs Haunted House in Eastview says they haven't been able to take part in the parade that kicks off the festival since 2011.
One of the rooms inside of the haunted house.
Sinister Tombs in the 2011 Heartland Festival.
HARDIN COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - When you think of
parades, floats, bands and fancy cars probably come to mind. A Hardin County
man claims his group wanted to be a part of the Heartland Festival in the Park
Parade in Elizabethtown this weekend but was turned away because they don't fit
the festival image.
The Sinister Tombs Haunted House in Eastview
says they haven't been able to take part in the parade that kicks off the
festival since 2011. One of the main ways he gets the word out that his haunted
house exists is through parades.
"We try to get in every parade we
can," said Sinister Tombs Haunted House operator Marvin Skaggs. His
haunted house has been around since 2001.
The Heartland Festival in the Park in
Elizabethtown has been around for more than 30 years. The family friendly event
draws thousands to Hardin County.
Skaggs says he promoted his haunted house at
the parade from 2001 through 2011. He says his people have been dressed in
their spooky costumes for years. In 2010, he said parade officials told him to
tone down the scariness because some children at the parade got scared. He says
"We had the devil riding back in the
hearse and the undertaker that was the only scary costumes we had," said
Last year when Skaggs tried to take part in
the parade, he says he was told he couldn't and the same thing happened this
year. He shared a letter from parade officials that says his entry is too scary
and doesn't promote the theme of the festival.
Skaggs says it's upsetting to him because
money generated from the haunted house goes to upkeep and he gives back to
"We were down 500 people last year
compared to year before," said Skaggs.
WAVE 3 News contacted Elizabethtown Events
Coordinator Sarah Vaughn, she sent the following statement:
"The Sinister Tombs' parade entry was
part of the Heartland Festival Parade in 2011. However, after the parade,
the committee received several complaints from patrons that the entry scared
children and many did not feel it was appropriate for a family friendly event
held outside of Halloween. Therefore, in 2012 when the entry was
received, the Parade Committee decided that the entry should be denied because
it is too scary for a family friendly, non-Halloween, themed parade. We
also ask our entries to coincide with the theme of the parade and this year's
theme is "My Hometown." The committee and the City of
Elizabethtown do not feel that this entry coincides with the theme. To my
knowledge, the entry could be flexible with changes to be accepted, however,
they would still include the scary characters or some type of tie-in to their
haunted house in which they are promoting. The City of Elizabethtown
offers Halloween themed events in October that the Sinister Tombs can be a part
says he even offered to have his group be dressed as super heroes and leave the
scariness behind to be a part of the parade. He plans on appealing the
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