Family-organized haunted hayride becomes community tradition -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Family-organized haunted hayride becomes community tradition

CENTENARY, SC (WMBF) - Just a few hours before sun sets Halloween night, people start gathering for a unique, decades-long tradition in Centenary, SC, a small town in Marion County. Scores of people have a hand in donating and helping put on the Centenary Haunted Hayride, but none of them ask for anything in return.

"Don't charge anybody," explained Nancy Pee, who started the hayride tradition. "You want to come, come free. If you want to give, give. Other than that, we'll have as long as the food lasts, it's free. And it's not free for one, it's free for all."

Down Pee's old dirt road, the community always gathers Halloween night. No one asks people to come. There's no social media event pushing for a big presence, no television commercials or radio ads. The community just knows the haunted hayride is happening, like it does every year.
Pee said it's been going on for 23 years, and she never expected it would turn into what it has. Hundreds of people will ride down the haunted path on donated trailers pulled by donated tractors.

It's completely free, Pee explained, because not every child can afford to pay to go to a haunted house. So they don't pay on her road.

"I got those kids on my mind who couldn't afford, or who parents can't afford to take them to the different places and do different things that some people can take their children," Pee said. "You see. And I try to show love to all."

It's that way of thinking that has everyone from local politicians to Pee's neighbors pitching in. "Probably 50 or 60 people that donate their time just for that one night," according to Tim Davis, Pee's son who helps organize the hayride event.

Volunteers help park cars, cook and serve the feast of food that people donate. "You might have a line," Pee said of the line that backs up as people wait for food. "It might be from here to the end of the road, lined up there to get waited on. You've got three, four, five people in the kitchen."

Dozens of people also work the haunted trail, which weaves through the woods once it's dark. "We have from 25 to 30 ghosts in the woods," Davis explained. "We do a graveyard."

Davis said every year more people come and every year more people want to volunteer and help out. "The kids that come to this, and as they grow up, they are the same kids that get involved to make it happen."

There has never been any trouble, even with such a large turnout. "The community this year. The whole community of Centenary has come together," Pee said.

But when the sun goes down, the haunted trail tours begin, ghosts fly through the dimly-lit trees and monsters roam.

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