Decades ago, just as the leaves began their annual change, so did Richland County’s economy – and not for the better.
“Once Richland County had racing and skiing season, but now things crank up in April, and this goes into October,” Tasseff said. “The original summer season was three months, but now it’s more like six and lasts into fall because there’s a lot stuff going on.”
But over time, Destination Mansfield president Lee Tasseff, who’s lived in Richland County for almost 30 years, has seen a positive shift in what’s known as the haunted capital of Ohio and the surrounding communities.
As Halloween draws near, hundreds of extra people funnel into Richland County to visit haunted attractions like the Ohio State Reformatory’s Escape from Blood Prison and the Haunted Bissman Building or patronize less scary, seasonal events like the Kingwood Center Garden’s annual Great Pumpkin Glow.
“Tourism generates money from a lot further out than one might think,” Tasseff said. “The Haunted Mansfield market is not limited to just the state. While that might surprise people, it happens regularly. Most events draw from a 60-mile radius while the notoriety of OSR and our Haunted Mansfield product like the Haunted Bissman Building, helps bring in visitors from throughout Ohio and the Midwest.”
When Tasseff first moved to Richland County, the Reformatory was not yet a haunted attraction every fall. Today, however, it attracts people from well beyond Ohio’s borders. And thrill-seekers might then stay for other haunted attractions like The Trail of Nightmares or Lessons in Fear: Haunted School House.
Tasseff encourages people to visit Destination Mansfield’s calendar of events, which offers details about events happening throughout Richland County. More specifically, people can view lists of upcoming activities and festivals to plan their own night of fright or family-friendly trip.
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