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Spooky New Events Mark Halloween Season in Sleepy Hollow Country

More Than 4,000 Hand-Carved Pumpkins on Display at Blaze; ‘Horseman's Hollow’ Makes its Terrifying Debut - Visitors Can Post Video on Youtube and Win an Apple IPad

SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY (Sept. 8, 2010) — Historic Hudson Valley, creator of the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, is expanding its portfolio of Halloween inspired experiences to include a professionally produced haunted attraction: Horseman’s Hollow. It joins another new experience, Jonathan Kruk’s ‘Legend,’ and two returning classics: Blaze and Legend Celebration, to round out a full complement of classic fall events in Sleepy Hollow Country.

Washington Irving’s macabre tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow inspires the brand new Horseman’s Hollow, an interactive haunted attraction at Philipsburg Manor recommended for ages 14 and up. Stocked with professional actors and state-of-the-art special effects, Horseman’s Hollow has a very high fear factor and is not for the faint of heart.

Jonathan Kruk’s ‘Legend’ brings the master storyteller into the historic, candlelit interior of the circa-1685 Old Dutch Church, where he will offer a dramatic re-telling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow accompanied by live organ music.

By popular demand, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, the tri-state area’s biggest Halloween extravaganza, is expanding to 20 evenings, including the first weekend in November. An Egyptian scene with mummies and giant pyramid, shrunken heads, and a pumpkin “cornfield” with crows are some of the new jack o’lantern installations included in this massive display of Halloween-inspired creativity. A team of artists come together to carve more than 4,000 jacks, many of them fused together in enormous and elaborate constructions, all lit up throughout the wooded walkways, orchards, and gardens of historic Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Also returning is Legend Celebration at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, a daytime event perennially popular with young children, where visitors are encouraged to come in costume.

All events are held rain or shine. All proceeds support Historic Hudson Valley, the Tarrytown-based non-profit educational organization which owns and operates the historic sites that host these events. Historic Hudson Valley is using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr (HHValley) and YouTube (InTheValley1), as well as its own HVBlog to connect with fans and offer behind the scenes info on event preparation.

Ticket and date information

For Blaze, Horseman’s Hollow, and Jonathan Kruk’s ‘Legend,’ all admissions are by timed ticket, which must be purchased in advance.

Blaze dates are Oct. 2-3, 8-11, 15-17, 21-24, 28-31, and Nov. 5-7. The first reservation is 7 p.m. on Oct. 2-3 and 8-11, and 6:30 p.m. for the other dates. Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for children 5-17, free for children under 5.

Horseman’s Hollow dates are Oct. 15-16, 22-24, and 28-30, with the first reservation at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Jonathan Kruk’s ‘Legend’ dates are Oct. 15-16 and 29-30. Seating is limited, and there are four performances each evening on the hour, beginning at 6pm. Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for children under 18.

Legend Celebration dates are Oct. 23-24 and 30-31, from 10-4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children 5-17, and free for those under 5.

Buy tickets online at www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914-631-8200 ($2 per ticket surcharge for phone orders).

Historic Hudson Valley members receive discounted admission to Jonathan Kruk’s ‘Legend’ and free admission to the other events. Details on becoming a member are online.

Horseman’s Hollow

Horseman’s Hollow, a brand new haunted experience right in the heart of Sleepy Hollow, takes the tale of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to its darkest extremes. For eight October evenings, historic Philipsburg Manor will transform into a terrifying landscape ruled by vampires, witches, undead soldiers, ghouls, and ghosts, all serving the Headless Horseman himself.

Historic Hudson Valley is working with haunted house professional Lance Hallowell to create an immersive, interactive, pleasantly terrifying experience stocked with professional actors and state-of-the-art special effects. Visitors begin walking a haunted trail, stumbling upon scary scenes of a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman. The Hollow’s unfortunate inhabitants are all too ready to keep visitors from ever leaving.

Creatures, some human and some not, lurk in the shadows, ready to terrify the unsuspecting, while state-of-the-art special effects disorient and unsettle. Lighting is by Emmy award-winning designer Deke Hazirjian of New York City Lites.

Custom built set pieces and period-correct costumes help orient the experience in Philipsburg Manor’s traditional time period of the mid-1700s.

Philipsburg Manor is at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow.

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, which drew 68,000 visitors last year, is a Halloween spectacle integrating thousands of hand-carved pumpkins — everything from your standard jack o’ lantern to extremely elaborate abstract designs — lit up throughout the landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor in various thematic and conceptual arrangements such as Egypt, the Undersea Aquarium, Pirates’ Cove, life-sized dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, “Pumpkinhenge,” (a riff on Stonehenge), a giant “cornfield,” an enormous spider web, Celtic knots, a circus arena with clown carvings, and more.

Professional lighting by designer Jay Woods and a spooky aural soundscape of original music and noises help create a complete all-senses immersion.

Scores of Blaze videos uploaded by fans can be found on YouTube.

Describing the event as an art installation, Creative Director Michael Natiello, who also coordinates the music, said Van Cortlandt Manor itself is the ultimate inspiration for Blaze. The jack o’lantern arrangements are meant to complement and draw attention to the site’s architecture, Revolutionary-era history, and landscape.

Natiello leads a team of Historic Hudson Valley staff and local artists who carve the pumpkins. In addition, more than 1,000 volunteers help scoop and light the pumpkins, including teams from Westchester and Putnam ARC, NY Life, dozens of Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, Pace University students and faculty, and many schoolchildren.

Blaze artists will be carving on site during the event, with their finished products available for purchase. In addition, the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze Shop will offer a full bounty of Blaze-specific merchandise including hats, notepads, games, T-shirts, magnets, caps, mugs, and jewelry. Café Blazé, by Geordane’s of Irvington, will offer culinary treats including soup, veggie chili, muffins, pumpkin cookies, and cider.

Blaze Title Sponsor is Entergy; Blaze Media Sponsor is 100.7 WHUD.

Van Cortlandt Manor is at 525 South Riverside Avenue, just off Route 9 in Croton-on-Hudson.

Jonathan Kruk’s ‘Legend’

Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk offers a dramatic re-telling of Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, featuring the Headless Horseman, Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, and Katrina Van Tassel. Flavored with live spooky organ music by Jim Keyes, Kruk’s storytelling will take place in the historic, candlelit setting of the Old Dutch Church. The 1685 stone church is across the street from Philipsburg Manor, where visitors will park.

Legend Celebration

Ideal for the youngest Halloween fans, Legend Celebration offers kids and their families a chance to come in costume to Washington Irving’s Sunnyside for Halloween fun.

Visitors can get their head examined by a phrenologist and enjoy a Punch Van Winkle puppet show as well as games, magic, sing-a-longs, Irish ghost stories, and other kid friendly Halloween experiences. Sunnyside also offers spooky woodland walks complete with ghost stories, which require online advance reservations. Sunnyside is at 89 West Sunnyside Lane, off Route 9 in Tarrytown.

YouTube video contest

Video-savvy visitors may enter the Blaze YouTube Video Contest by filming the event, editing their work, and uploading their video (three minutes or less) to YouTube.

Historic Hudson Valley will award an Apple iPad prize provided by 100.7 WHUD for the video that best achieves the contest goal of capturing the creativity and excitement of Blaze. Full contest details and requirements are online at www.hudsonvalley.org.

Rob Schweitzer
Historic Hudson Valley
150 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY10591
914-631-8200, ext. 637
rschweitzer@hudsonvalley.org