If you like ghost stories and things that go bump in the night, you’re going to want to hang around Camp Helen State Park for a spell Oct. 13 for the seventh annual Ghost Walk and History Tour.
The Friends of Camp Helen have a ghoulish evening planned to delight families with real-life ghost stories and Halloween-themed refreshments.
“We’ve chosen this event and its name because of the real ghost sightings on the park as a part of its history,” said Lynn Cherry with Friends of Camp Helen, the fundraising arm of the state park.
This event is certainly more treat than trick, and is made for kids of all ages and their families.
Cherry emphasized that there would be nothing wicked afoot.
“It’s family friendly,” she said. “This is not a ghost walk that intends to scare you. We’re not going to have people out there with chainsaws.”
The spirits will be high at seven stations where dressed-up volunteers will regale spectators with historical stories of eerie, ghostly characters.
“They’ll learn about the ghost of G. G.,” Cherry said of the man-turned-ghost who died by an accident many, many years ago. “His ghost looms in the state park. You’ll hear about his story and about who has seen him.”
She said that storytellers will bring the stories to life by taking the visitors to locations of ghost sightings and supposed last resting places.
But, Cherry said with a laugh, in all years past, nobody has ever seen a ghost.
“You just learn about their spirits,” said Cherry. “It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about Camp Helen, we use the history in every one of our stories.”
To go to each station should take about an hour and a half, and visitors are welcome to come and leave as they please within the three-and-a-half hour event, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 13.
Visitors are encouraged to dress up in costume and flashlights are recommended. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger. For information, contact Lynn Cherry at 215-4651 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to helping maintain and learn about the park, “it can really get you get you in the Halloween spirit,” said Cherry.
The 180 acres of Camp Helen was acquired as conservation land as part of Florida’s Preservation 2000 Act. The land is today a part of Florida Forever. The Ghost Walk is an annual event to share the history of the park while raising money to preserve the land and restore buildings.
Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway near the Walton and Bay county line, on the south side of the highway just west of the Phillips Inlet Bridge.
Parking at the state park is limited, and will be designated for handicapped use on this evening. Visitors are asked to park at the Winn Dixie at the intersection of U.S. 98 and Front Beach Road, and then ride provided public transportation into the park.