Fayette County

ScareFest draws horror fans and celebrities to Lexington

Brian Prewitt of Western Kentucky posed for a photo with Ernie Hudson of Ghostbusters fame at ScareFest on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff
Brian Prewitt of Western Kentucky posed for a photo with Ernie Hudson of Ghostbusters fame at ScareFest on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

Fans and celebrities seemed to agree that Lexington's ScareFest is their favorite horror and paranormal convention.

Scarefest, which started Friday and runs through Sunday at the Lexington Center, is the largest horror and paranormal convention in the country. Between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors are expected.

Celebrities in town for the convention include Elvira, Mistress of the Dark; Ernie Hudson of Ghostbusters fame; actress Erin Gray; Lea Thompson from Back to the Future; and cast members from shows on the Sci-Fi and Travel Channel networks.

Gremlins actor Zack Galligan said he chose ScareFest to be one of the two or three shows he does each year. He said he liked that it was targeted more toward a celebration of the 1980s.

ScareFest owner Patti Starr, who lives in Lexington, started the convention four years ago at the suggestion of one of her ghost-hunting students. She gives lessons in ghost hunting; hosts a ghost walk in Bardstown; and offers a mystical paranormal fair in Lexington. Starr also runs Ghost Hunter Shop off Porter Place in Lexington.

Starr says her convention is the first to combine horror culture with attractions for those interested in the paranormal.

"And it just blew up!" she said.

People have traveled from as far as California, Canada, Ireland and Tokyo to attend, and many wear costumes. However, Starr said that ScareFest has yet to meet its bills.

"We're still way in the red," she said. "Hopefully this year we'll make even."

Regardless, the convention is a big event for many of its visitors and dealers.

John and Ashley Hancock from Monticello are making a honeymoon of ScareFest in Lexington and Horror Fest in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

"This is something we really enjoy," Ashley Hancock said. She and her husband went to ScareFest last year on a date.

"I don't know if I could name a favorite part," said Sammy Bates, a horror memorabilia collector and convention "staph" worker from Versailles. "I like meeting the celebrities, but I also enjoy working with the vendors. I'm giving up my whole weekend to be here."

Ghostbusters fans wandered the aisles Friday with homemade proton packs to be autographed. Scare actors from local haunted houses added to the scene. In addition to enjoying the spectacle, visitors have the option of lying in a coffin or sitting in a mock electric chair.

Day passes to the convention are available atThescarefest.com.

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