From the hills of the River Piave, in the province of Treviso, Italy comes the Haunted Dark Ride. Eventually.

Manufactured by the Italian firm Gosetto, the “tailor of Dark Rides,” the attraction is being shipped to the docks of New York City, then transported to the Minnesota State Fair, where the one-of-a-kind ride makes its North America debut.

“The Haunted Dark Ride is still on the sea. The ride will be late,” said Joey Weaver, of Fair Ride Entertainment, on Monday. “Best case scenario the ride will be open on Saturday [Aug. 25]. ”

The ride docks in New York City and inspected by customs, according to Weaver. “I hope they do [customs] quickly,” he said. After customs, Haunted Dark Ride will be truck transported to the State Fair.

Haunted Dark Ride is 100 percent custom-made, according to Weaver. “My wife and I went to the Gosetto factory in Italy to design Dark Ride. It took two years to design. It’s a neat process,” he said. “We sit with Gosetto’s designers and engineers and plan it from the ground up.”

The 40-foot high Haunted Dark Ride features two-levels of animated spooks, holograms, sounds and lights. “There’s some scare to it, but we wanted to make it a family ride, so it’s not gory,” said Weaver. “No blood and guts. We want families to get off the ride and then say ‘let’s ride it again.’ It’s scary enough for a little thrill. I have a 9-year old daughter that’s fine with it.”

Haunted Dark Ride is operated with cars that hold two adults or three children. The car enters the dark inside of the ride and approaches robotic figures, animatronic objects, fog machines and lights. “There’s some scare because you don’t know what’s coming,” said Weaver. “There’s a little bit of strobes, but not intense.”

After riding the first level, the car climbs up a ramp to the second level where riders view more scary props and animatronic figures. The car leaves the second level and comes back outside on a track. Fair goers can see the riders on the outside of the exhibit going back inside. “It’s a great photo-op,” said Weaver. The cars go back inside and down the ramp to the first level before exiting.

Weaver operates three other rides at the State Fair, including the Gosetto-manufactured New York New York Fun House. New York New York Fun House was awarded “Best Midway Ride” in 2016 by the Minnesota State Fair building superintendents and other State Fair organizers.

After it’s debut at the Minnesota State Fair, Haunted Dark Ride heads for the 24-day Texas State Fair.

“The Minnesota State Fair is the best with the atmosphere, the quality of ridership, and appreciation of rides,” said Weaver.

A delay on the mighty ocean makes the Haunted Dark Ride debut an even more interesting attraction to visit.

Shawn Sandefur, Midway Operations, said the Haunted Dark Ride would be assembled from the front during night time hours and the next morning, the ride would be assembled from behind the ride.


Haunted Dark Ride being assembled Sat. Aug 25; Fair opened Aug. 23. (photo: Jeff Rutherford)

The Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 23 through Labor Day Sept. 3. Mighty Midway hours are 10 a.m. to midnight, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Labor Day.

Cost (after State Fair gate fee):

$1 for an individual ticket
$25 for a 30-ticket sheet
$40 for a 54-ticket sheet

Pick up the State Fair’s Blue Ribbon Bargain Book to save even more at Mighty Midway. Several specific Mighty Midway & Kidway rides also feature discounts in the Bargain Book.

(photos of Haunted Dark Ride at it’s Italy factory courtesy Joey Weaver)





About Barb Teed

Barb has a M.A. in Liberal Studies from Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn., a B.A. in Media Studies from New School University, NYC., and Associates of Arts degree in Anthropology from Normandale Community College, Bloomington Minn. I was born in Duluth, Minn.