Upper Arlington News

Golden Bear Scare will wake the ghosts at Smith Nature Park

Grade school children with enough courage are invited to venture through a haunted forest in this year’s second annual Golden Bear Scare.

Prepared by the Upper Arlington Civic Association (UACA), the Golden Bear Scare will take over Smith Nature Park for three nights, Oct. 25-27. Intended for children in grades 1-8, the haunted forest will remain fairly passive before 8 p.m., and will then become increasingly more “haunted” and suitable for older children as the night continues, according to UACA director Peter Walsh.

UACA vice president Tony Callander said he chose the park as the site of this year’s Golden Bear Scare “because it was already haunted.”

“Years ago it is believed that the park was used as a jailhouse cemetery,” Callander said. “It may have been the site of the worst jailhouse in Ohio. If so, the prison would have been where the most hardened criminals were sent to die and be buried where the nature park stands today.

“When Old Man Smith wasn’t busy burying prisoners in unmarked graves, he could have dabbled in witchcraft,” he said. “No one really knows what went on in there.”

Children and their guardians will be led through the haunted forest by a dedicated “scare ranger,” who will explain the history of the park and how it came to be haunted, according to Walsh.

“Based on their experience last year, the undead in Smith Park appear to be looking forward to this year’s event,” Walsh said.

This year’s Golden Bear Scare takes place 7 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 25-27 at the Smith Nature Park, with the entrance at the Northwest Christian Church, 1340 Fishinger Road. Admission to the haunted forest is free.

More information can be found online at www.uaca.org.

— Lin Rice