One Tank Trip

One Tank Trip: Shocktoberfest

BERKS CO., Pa. - Around dark corners and behind closed doors are the tricks of the trade. In the daylight or by light bulb, they make the scary seem not so scary.

Owner of Shocktoberfest Pat Konopelski jokes, "Don't show anyone this footage. This is top secret stuff."

Konopelski gave 69 News a tour around his haunted attraction in the daytime. It's not such a shock when you know what to expect and see where it all comes from. 

"Oh yeah. Bon-Ton. Bon-Ton going out of business sale. We picked up a couple mannequins," he added.

It'll take a little work over the winter, but they'll be all bloody and gory by next year.

Shocktoberfest, also known as Willow Glen Park, is in Sinking Spring.

One of the attractions is the Prison of the Dead, a 50,000 square foot haunted house. Guests take a bus here.

"What we try to do is fully immerse the customer and to do that, you need complete control of their surroundings," Konopelski said.

A programmable logic controller (PLC) gives that control. It's similar to the systems used at Disney and Universal, just on a smaller scale.

"It allows us to control animatronics, air cannons, lights, sound, video, pyrotechnics anything that we want to do other than manually control, we can do with PLCs," Konopelski said. 

Every attraction on the property has its own PLC and individual computer system. Guests trip the hidden sensors when they walk by, the computer tells the air to go through the hose which activates the pneumatic rod. That creates the scare. Amps control the sound.

There are hidden doors, "reveals" as they call them, at every turn. Actors wait behind them to catch you unaware. 

"It's been a long way from dark hallways and fishing lines to, you know, advanced technology and pyrotechnics," Konopelski said.  

It's been 27 years since that first haunted hayride, which was a fundraiser for Camp Conrad Weiser.

The hope is that behind the scare and after the screams is laughter. It is a business after all. No use in scaring everyone away forever. 


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