Eight years ago, the Harris-Kemper Neighborhood Association had the idea to help liven up the area: Take people on a tour with spooky ghost stories, paranormal happenings and fun activities.
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, the neighborhood’s residents will hold the eighth consecutive sold-out “Haunted Harris-Kemper Walking Tour,” starting at 302 N. 20th St.
“It certainly has helped us a lot, and we have a good time doing it,” Cyndee Dvorak, an organizer for the event, said.
Around Labor Day, the association begins selling tickets for the tour at $25 per person. As the years continued, those tickets have sold faster, which means upping the ante of creativity.
“The tour always changes. Sometimes, it’s what we refer to as ‘talking porches,’ because they go in groups and the presenter will talk to the group about their encounter (with the paranormal) or sometimes, they’ll talk about the owner of a house or the person who built it,” Dvorak said.
This year’s tour will include dancing witches, a seance, little skits in some of the houses and psychics.
“They will do mini readings. They are very good. They’re professionals. This isn’t a parlor trick,” Dvorak said.
The money raised from ticket sales goes back into refurbishing and sprucing up the area.
“This is one of the only fundraisers that Harris-Kemper does. We’ve used the money for a butterfly garden. The monarch station down on 18th and Faraon, it was an empty city lot that we bought from them,” Dvorak said.
There are hopes that the money will be used for some forthcoming projects in the area.
“We’re looking into other neighborhood improvement things that we can do to help some of the people in our neighborhood,” Dvorak said.
For one night, Dvorak said the neighborhood comes together to have some fun, tell stories that will give people the creeps and delight those who explore the architecture and history of the area.
“It’s kind of fun bringing in a new crowd. Everybody loves a good ghost story and these are not made up. These are the spirits that we share our homes with,” Dvorak said.
For more information about future Harris-Kemper tours, call 816-344-3422.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live