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Fright Fest generally refers to the Halloween-oriented haunt events at the Six Flags theme parks. "Six Flags Fright Fest", is an annual event at the individual theme parks which offers up various haunted attractions and themed 'Scare Zones', as well as live entertainment.
It can also refer to "FrightFest" at the Hersch Family Entertainment parks like Darien Lake, as those events were inherited, being former Six Flags owned theme parks, who decided to carry the event on after Six Flags lost ownership.
Fright Fest events are most well known for being at the Six Flags parks, although the similar names between that of Fright Fest and FrightFest at HFE parks does cause a bit of confusion. The parks are generally redecorated heavily for the event, while also featuring attractions built for the event along the lines of haunted houses, and sometimes multiple outdoor walkthroughs that aren't in the form of an indoor maze. Halloween based shows often replace the normal summer shows, most notably the beloved 'Love at First Fright' at Six Flags St Louis and Six Flags Great America, and usually an opening ceremony or an end of the night finale, started by 'Freaks Unleashed' and 'Final Freakout' at Six Flags St Louis that brings all the actors in to the park for a first and last scare. Parks may also feature "Scare Zones" in designated areas of the park where costumed actors are allowed to scare guests, though these parks also typically include "Non-Scare Zones" where the actors are not allowed, thus allowing a "safe" area for families with small children or otherwise not wanting to be scared. As well some parks feature promotions where guests can compete for prizes, such as exit passes for eating a live cockroach.
The events at both chains typically occur during weekends in Mid-late September through Halloween, and sometimes the weekend after if possible each year.
Six Flags® Fright Fest
Six Flags created Fright Fest after testing Halloween-based events through the 1970s at some of its parks. In 1989 Fright Fest was born at Six Flags Over Texas and expanded to all of its parks soon after. The events featured haunted houses, a trick or treat trail for kids, and more. One of the big additions to the event was during Fright Fest 1999 when Six Flags licensed and opened some of their haunted houses at the parks as Alice Cooper's Brutal Planet, featuring music from the album and using similar elements in each house, although the next year it became just simply "Brutal Planet" and dropped the Alice Cooper theme. Currently, there are not any Six Flags parks that house a haunted attraction with the name. Although, over the years a few licensed haunts have popped up, such as 'Saw: The Maze' at Six Flags Great America.
Many of the parks have similar shows and share names and ideas, like 'Dead Man's Party', which is at Six Flags St Louis, Six Flags New England, Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Over Texas, and Six Flags Great America. Another show, "Love at First Fright" is only shown at Six Flags St Louis, and Six Flags Great America. But it was also shown at Six Flags Over Georgia for a while.
Most also have a specific show that unleashes the monsters into the parks, including "Freaks Unleashed" at Six Flags St Louis, "Awakening" at Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, "The Uprising" at Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags America, Six Flags Great America, and "Unleashed!" at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Hersch Family Entertainment FrightFest
PARC Management parks rebranded their Fright Fest events in 2007 as "Fall Family Fun Fest" whilst adding new elements not found in previous years' Six Flags Fright Fest at the parks. New additions included more family oriented areas such as hay mazes and pumpkin painting, but also kept older elements like haunted houses and trick or treat trails. The events were then rebranded again as FrightFest from 2008 onward, including in recent years with Hersch Family Entertainment getting ownership. Elements have remained largely the same from that point, however Fright Fest at Six Flags parks remain the most popular and profitable of the two.
- "Six Flags Theme Parks Cash-In on Halloween; Theme Park Company Uses Halloween Fright Fest to Drive Incremental Attendance, Revenues.". The Free Library. Business Wire. 2000. Retrieved 10 Oct 2009.