The Frightening 2009 Haunt and Attractions Show
By Noah Wullkotte
3:00 am Saturday morning we packed our bags and made certain that we had everything from change in clothes to the essentials such as information on seminars, events and of course a camera to take incredible pictures of all the haunting things that would take place during the Haunt Show and in beautiful downtown St. Louis. Our bags were packed and America’s Center was chosen as the favorite in the GPS. We were finally off on our 6 hour journey to St.Louis Missouri from wonderful Cincinnati, OH and there was no turning back.
It was still dark out, but we were determined to make it to the haunt show. Hours upon hours of boring driving passed and we still weren’t there. But we were determined and there was no way that we were going to miss the year’s biggest event for the haunt industry. There were some interesting stops on the way. These included a few stops at some quite disgusting bathrooms that featured some great amenities such as a nifty condom machine, a cologne dispenser and a urinal that’s been taped up with heavy duty duct tape. That was something I’ve never seen before in Ohio and something I wouldn’t want to see again.
Time passed and minutes became hours. We stopped a few more times in between for some snacks and drinks. Typical food included sweet honey buns and cheese crackers topped off with sugary soda. After endless hours of driving we finally arrived at America’s Center. My bladder was full of pop and my gut was about to burst, but I was ready for Transworld and Transworld was ready for me. We finally arrived, but are travels weren’t done just yet. We had to find room #106 to pick up our press passes and we did with ease. Our press passes were neatly placed on a table and it couldn’t have been an easier process. In year’s past it was much more complicated and involved having staff type in your name on the computer and hunt for your press pass. But this year it was a less stressful experience.
Thankfully we received our passes, but suddenly a smiling woman approached. She asked, “Are you from The Trave Channel?”. At that moment I thought to myself rather I should say yes or no. I might be treated like a king if they thought I was from The Travel Channel. But thankfully my conscience intervened. Well that ordeal was over and we were ready for Transworld. The smell of fog was in the air and the sounds of air horns and air compresses emanated throughout the tradeshow floor. I showed the staff member my badge and was let through with ease. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Unlike year’s past the floor wasn’t full of Halloween, Costume and Party Vendors.
This time it was the Haunt Industry’s time to shine and it was obvious by the size of the crowd that this year’s Transworld would be a huge success. The floor was packed with just about every prop and product you could think of. The air compressors from the animated props made loud noise while screams and sirens could be heard throughout the convention center. This was Transworld and St.Louis was alive with everything haunted. The tradeshow consisted of fog machines, pneumatic props, possessed dolls, attacking werewolves, the living dead and just about everything frightening you could think of.
After about an hour and a half of roaming the tradeshow we were ready to check into our hotel room. Luckily The Renaissance Grand was easy to locate because it was directly across the street. We walked across the street and entered The Renaissance Grand. To put it lightly this hotel is first class all the way. It’s large, elegant and very classy. We then proceeded to check in, but unfortunately we were a little too early and had to wait till 12 am. So we were off to check out the tradeshow once again.
I was looking forward to seeing all the sights and sounds, but I was a little tired from traveling 6 hours without much sleep from the night before. So we were off to check out the tradeshow once again for about 30 minutes. The floor was packed more so then when we arrived earlier. I was in Halloween heaven, but a bit tired from the long car trip. Boy I sound like I’m getting old and I’m only 25. 30 minutes passed and we were ready to check into the hotel room.
To my surprise the hotel room was pretty nice, not as nice as the Sheraton in Rosemont, IL, but nice. It featured a large closet, huge bathroom, a cheap TV, your typical dressers and some pretty comfy beds. I laid out on the bed and took a 2 hour nap. After about 2 hours we woke up and were ready to take in some sights, sounds and see what St.Louis had to offer in the way of food. We started up the GPS and were off to Pointers Pizza. This pizza parlor is famous for having the largest delivery pizza weighing in at 10 pounds. I wasn’t ready for the challenge, but wanted to try their well known pizza anyway. We picked out 2 pizzas, sausage and onion and pineapple and pepperoni. For $16.99 it was a good deal, but overall the pizza tasted like high class degornio and had nothing on Cincinnati style pizza. None the less, it was tasty.
After we filled our belly we were off to visit Wal-Mart. My cheap shoe laces had broken and my shoes were barely staying on my feet. But I won’t bore you with those details thank God. We were there for about an hour and were off to the hotel. But before we would arrive at the hotel I had to check out The Darkness to see what it looked like during the daytime before it opened for the Saturday tour. I selected The Darkness as a favorite in the GPS and we were off. 15 minutes later we arrived at The Darkness, but at first I thought we must be at the wrong place since it looked like an abonded building and the people in front looked shady to say the least. So we decided to type in the address again to see it it screwed up and suprisingly it didn’t once we returned again. We knew it was the right location this time since we could see actors outside entering the building.
Well I was certain it was the right location this time and we were ready to return to the Renaissance Grand once again. We arrived at The Renaissance Grand parking garage and not surprisingly it was raining just like when we arrived. I love the rain, but wasn’t expecting weather in St. Louis to be similar to what it was like in Rosemeont, IL. But I’d rather it be cold out then be sweating like bullets. Once again we entered into the Renaissance Grand and took it easy in our hotel room. A marathon of To Catch A Predator was on the BIO channel and it’s always amusing seeing pedophiles being exposed on Cable TV. A few hours passed and I had to check out the rest of the hotel before I was off to The Darkness. Sadly I was the only one who was willing to fork over $50 for the tour. It was about 9:50 and I was ready to experience The Darkness. I drove for about 5 minutes and arrived.
The place was packed with taxis, limos and a line a mile long, but I would soon find out that it had opened an hour late. My time slot was for 10-11 and I was ready to be scared and get lost in The Darkness.
Click here to read an extensive review of The Darkness.
Click Here to check out plenty of pictures taken at the 2009 Haunt and Attractions Show!
2 and a half hours later after waiting in line and going through The Darkness I was ready to go back to the hotel room and relax. When I’m on vacation I like to relax and basically lounge like I’m dead or dying. So that’s what I did. I would lye in bed, eat some left over pizza and watch Kid Psychics for a while and fall asleep. 8 hours later we would wake up and be off to the tradeshow once again. Sundays are never great days for conventions since many vendors are ready to pack up and many people are on their trip back home. The convention center was dead, but there were a few areas I hadn’t checked out yet and I needed to take more pictures, videos and pick up many colorful ads and brochures.
An hour and a half later it would be the last time we would walk the floors of the America’s Center for 2009 and we were ready to travel back home to great old Cincinnati, OH. I would take a few pictures on the way back of beautiful St. Louis that was a bit flooded from the day before. It had rained so much that statues that were once above ground were neck deep in water. Well, we were ready to go back to Cincinnati, OH. We would visit a Chinese buffet on the way back, but it would sadly be the last part of our trip.
We had fun, frights and food. It was the 2009 Haunt and Attractions Show and will we never forget the fun we had.
Please note: During the tradeshow there were many options for entertainment and education. These included a Columbia Haunt Tour, Lemp Mansion Ghost Hunt, Creative Visions Tour, The Darkness Behind The Scenes Tour W/Dinner and Saturday Admission and much much more.
Click Here to check out plenty of pictures taken at the 2009 Haunt and Attractions Show!