Less than three weeks after the Blount County Fair, a major transformation has taken place at the Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center. AgriPhobia has inundated the building. Instead of amusements rides, food, and bright lights, the center now has dark smoke-filled rooms with hieroglyphics, mad scientists, werewolves, skeletons, clowns, Frankenstein, and Dracula.

What is AgriPhobia? AgriPhobia is advertised as “an intense, self-guided journey through your darkest fears. Not for the young or faint-of-heart. You will be fully immersed in the detailed settings, gruesome makeup, horrifying scenes, and over-the-top scares. Not even the parking lot offers sanctuary from the horrors within.”

In its fourth year of existence, AgriPhobia, is currently ranked No. 2 in the state and in the top 30 nationwide on “The Scare Factor’s 2017 Must See.” Agri-Business Center director Chase Moore said, “It is constantly growing and it is amazing how many people want to be a part of it. We had to turn some people away this year because the response was so great.”

As the second-biggest yearly moneymaker for the Agri-Business Center, Moore attributes the success to “the great relationship with the county and city workers, and tremendous community support. There are volunteers from several adjacent counties, in addition to the many local volunteers.”

Moore said, “This is an opportunity for anyone to get involved. We have active and retired military personnel, young and more mature volunteers, as well as businesses who are involved this year.”

Over 40 actors, 15 plus hall monitors, and more than 20 set crew, costume designers, and hair and makeup artists have come together in a remarkably short time to make AgriPhobia a reality. According to Moore, “The huge amount of work in such a short time that goes on prior to the event is incredible.”

Moore also said, “Security and safety is a first priority for us. We have made sure all of our i’s are dotted, and all of our t’s are crossed and we have every safety precautions possible in place. The haunted house is equipped with numerous fire extinguishers and emergency exits. Upon entering the haunted house, everyone must pass through a metal detector, and no purses, knives, or guns are allowed. Hall monitors are strategically placed throughout the maze in case anyone has to abort the haunted house.”

Last year more than 2,500 people experienced AgriPhobia’s hauntings. This year is expected to draw an even larger crowd. Tickets for AgriPhobia are $15 per person or a T-shirt/ticket combo package is available for $25.

There is no age limit to attend AgriPhobia. It is strictly left up to parental discretion. Moore advised, “If you think your child can handle it, then by all means, bring them.” He said, “I have seen 7- and 8-year-old children go through the course without any problems; however, their parents were scared out of their wits.”

Doors for AgriPhobia are open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28. The event will be open from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Oct. 26 and 31.