‘Trail of Terror’

Well this is it, the spooky season. Now we’ve got to think about costumes and candy for the neighbors. But some of us like to go all out. Like haunted houses and mazes, and dressing up for this spooky time. Halloween is very festive, but my favorite thing to do is go to the “Trail Of Terror!”

On Friday, October 18th, I went there. If any of you don’t know, the “Trail Of Terror” is multiple different set ups of mazes. They have different people that dress up in scary costumes and makeup. The whole thing is near where the “Renaissance Festival” usually is.

During my visit I went through “The Maze Of Mayhem.” It has many people hidden throughout the maze. They jump out and scare! I think they did a wonderful job with this, but I feel that it was more suspense than anything and I think on my visit they were a bit understaffed but it was still fun. 

I also went through the mini versions of “The Maze Of Mayhem” which are the trailers. They were a bit disappointing, they didn’t have many people to scare you. 

The wait time gets longer and longer, about an hour after it opens. I arrived at 7:15pm and the line for “The Maze Of Mayhem” was not bad but after we left the maze it had almost twice as many people as it did when we were in line. 

I got in touch with the marketing team and asked them a few questions about “Trail Of Terror” so here it is: 

How many staff do you have return year after year?

About 70% of our staff returns each year and the rest are new people who want to get involved!

Are there emergency exits for the people that are too scared?

There are emergency exits for people who decide to leave the haunted houses before the end. In “The Maze of Mayhem,” there’s somewhere to exit around almost every turn.

Do they ever open an art contest for scary art, or other contests for new ideas?

Some years there are “Trail of Terror” mural competitions where people can submit murals and earn a free ticket.

What is the average age of people that go?

Teenagers and adults are the main demographics that we see, we don’t see young children here very often.

Do staff do their own makeup or is there a makeup team? 

We have a team of one professional makeup artist and some volunteers that do makeup for the entertainers.

How long does the prep, dress/makeup take each day?

It can take anywhere between 1-2 hours for full hair, makeup, and costume preparation.           

What requirements do you need for the job?

You must be over 14, have the desire to act and be scary, and the ability to stay in character!

How long have you been hosting this?

This is our 26th year of “Trail of Terror!”

Who started this tradition? 

“Trail of Terror” is hosted by an events company, Mid America Festival, that also puts on the “MN Renaissance Festival.”

Were there any challenges in starting this?

The biggest part is transitioning from “Renaissance Festival” to “Trail of Terror.”  While they are in different areas of our grounds, there is a lot of work to be done with closing down the “Renaissance Festival” and beginning “Trail of Terror.”

Anything else you want to say?

We have other fun promotions going on this year as well.  

This is the last weekend that you can attend! So, have a great Halloween, don’t get too spooked. 

If you plan on going:

Location: 3525 145th St W, Shakopee, MN 55379   

Prices are Online Tickets: $18.95

Box Office Tickets: $23.95

Times: it opens at 7pm and closes at 12:30am.

Eid

Eid al-fitr (festival of breaking fast) and Eid I’d al- fitr are the two festivals of Islam. Ei-al fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal. And on the day of Eid we perform the communal prayer.

Eid al-fitr doesn’t begin until the moon is first sighted, and technically that means across the world Eid al-fitr starts at different times and different days; depending on the location. The festival traditionally last for three days.

On Eid morning, Muslims cleanse their bodies and put on news clothes. Before leaving to perform morning prayer, Muslims wake up to cleanse their bodies with a ritual called ‘ghusl.’ Muslims often get new clothes to pray with and is obligatory that all Muslims do this. Some people wear the traditional prayer clothes and women decorate their hands with henna.

After getting dressed and ready, Muslims gather for prayers in a Mosque and/or outside locations. On that day, Muslims greet each other with, “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Have a blessed Eid.” It is a pretty common thing to say on Eid day to celebrate the ending of fast.

After the prayer, some Muslims go home, or visit close relatives and eat Eid lunch. Or they drink some tea or coffee, eat cookies, sweets, or go out to eat. Younger children get Eid money from older relatives; that varies from $5 or more.

My family, we usually celebrate by praying, going out to eat at a restaurant, and going to play at a amusement park. Many Muslims celebrate the holiday differently: some Muslims play at a park, some stay home, some eat at home, some eat at a restaurant, etc.

Some Muslim families sacrifice an animal and share the meat with the poor, and some exchange gifts.

Mother’s Day

A mother is someone who provides love, care, nurture, and safety for her children. Every mother expresses these aspects in different ways. In appreciation of our mother’s, we celebrate Mother’s Day, which falls on May 12, 2019 in the United States. In other countries Mother’s Day is celebrated on different days, but usually Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in many different ways all around the world, but the main purpose is to celebrate an appreciation towards mothers. According to The Holiday Spot, in the United Kingdom, Mother’s Day is also called Mothering Sunday. It is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and is a time to give mothers rewards for their love and encouragements.

On the other hand, in India, Mother’s Day is a time of reflection of how important their mothers are. They also send cards and eat out so the mother can rest and get out of the kitchen.

Gift giving is one of the top ways of showing your appreciation for another, which is one of the reasons why, on Mother’s Day, we treat our mother out to a meal or get her a present. If taking your mother out to her favorite restaurant won’t work, then here is a list of gifts you can give to her:

  • Jewelry
  • Tea or coffee
  • Plant
  • Kitchen utilities
  • Skin care
  • Chocolate
  • Bouquet of flowers

Homemade gifts may be the most meaningful gift you could give your mother, but if you don’t have a lot of art skills you could visit a local store. If you are still unable to find gift at your local store you can visit Etsy to find a Mother’s Day gift for your mother.

So, until Mother’s day, you could think of what ways you could show your appreciation for your mother. Maybe by giving her a present, treating her out to a meal, or maybe spending the whole day with your mother.

Easter: An overview

This year Easter, which is a Christian holiday, occurred on Sunday, April 21. Each year, Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon in spring. Easter Day, for Christians, is the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after he was put to death. The resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew hope that we have victory over sin. Easter is three days after the death of Jesus on the cross.

Easter is where many people do a period of fasting called Lent leading up to it, and many churches set aside time for repentance and remembrance. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends on Good Friday, the day that Jesus was put to death. On the day before Good Friday, there is a day called Maundy Thursday, considering to be the last supper/Passover Jesus took. Easter is associated with the Jewish holiday Passover, the Last Supper was a Passover feast.

Abstract Passover story Haggadah book over traditional food and Moses. Vector illustration – Image taken from: https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/culture/article/2017/04/10/gentiles-guide-passover

During Passover, Jesus took bread, which represented his body, and shared it with his 12 apostles. The cup of wine they drank represented his blood. In present time, Passover observed by breaking bread and drinking wine, or as an alternative grape/cranberry juice. Breaking bread is simply having bread, without yeast, and breaking it into pieces among the people.  These rituals symbolize the sacrifice he was about to make in death, and this became the basis for the Christian ritual.


The week leading up to Jesus’ death is called Holy Week. This includes Palm Sunday, which is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday when Jesus would be put to death.

Easter Day is a time of celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. As time passed many secular ideas have been incorporated in this holiday. In present time Easter is celebrated as Jesus’ resurrection and/or to celebrate with the Easter bunny.

Another tradition is the Easter Bunny, that delivers candy and chocolate eggs to children on Easter Sunday morning. According to Country Living, the Easter bunny was a part of early pagan (non-religious) celebrations, and Christian missionaries had sometimes incorporated pagan ideas into their holidays. The two were combined to help promote their holidays to others. Historians believe it arrived in America with the German immigrants in the 1700s. The Easter bunny was at first the goddess of spring and dawn named Eastre, but was turned into a bunny by the Germans.

Eastre was celebrated because during spring, people celebrated the renewal of life and fertility. Eastre was associated with newborns and animals, and rabbits were known for reproducing rapidly, which created the concept of the Easter bunny.

The eggs came from when Eastre came late for spring once and saw a frozen bird. Eastre then turned that frozen bird into a white hare and made it lay colorful eggs once a year. The Easter eggs symbolizes fertility and birth in pagan traditions that pre-date Christianity, and also the resurrection of Jesus.

So, even though Easter is a Christian holiday today, it has connections to other beliefs as well.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.holidayinsights.com/easter/

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/undertanding-the-history-and-symbols-of-easter-1256039.html

Youth Climate Strike

By: Vivian S

The Youth Climate Strike, which happened on Friday, March 15th, was when, in over 40 countries, including the US, students walked out of school to raise awareness and fight against climate change.

The movement was inspired by Greta Thunberg, who protested outside the Swedish parliament and delivered a speech to the United Nations Climate Summit, and the short amount of time science says we have to fix our climate.

We have very few years left to transform our energy system and reduce greenhouse gasses until the damage is permanent. The website for the Youth Climate Strike US, https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/platform, says they are striking because world leaders have yet to acknowledge or prioritize this issue. They hope that by disrupting the normal flow of things, by not attending school, they can force governments to deal with climate change.

The strike was to demand that: The Green New Deal be put into effect, that there are no more new fossil fuel infrastructures, that the government make decisions based on the newest scientific evidence, that a national emergency be declared about climate change, that there is a comprehensive education on climate change for K-8, that wildlife is preserved, and that water remains clean.

The solutions they propose are: reforestation, the reduction of food waste, to make goals and benchmarks for the reduction of greenhouse gasses, to change the agriculture industry, to use more renewable energy, to stop fracking, and to stop mountaintop removal and mining.

We can only wait and see if this protest had any effect on the policies governments sign into laws, or if there will be any more strikes. But know this, I think these students will be heard, I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear of them.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a day we take every year to celebrate all the women in the world and their achievements. It’s also a day where people raise awareness of the bias women face, and fight for equality for all. Every year International Women’s Day takes place on March 8.

According to International Women’s Day, the first International Women’s Day took place on March 19, 1911. It was first celebrated by Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Denmark. This happened after an agreement made the previous year in Copenhagen after Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day.

On the last Sunday in February, 1913, women in Russia celebrated International Women’s Day to support peace before World War I started. In 1913 it was also decided to move International Women’s Day to March 8.

On March 8, 1914, in London, and other places across Europe, there were rallies to stop the war and unite all women. In London there was a rally from Bow to Trafalgar Square were people supported the women’s suffrage movement.

In 1917, the Czar of Russia granted women the right to vote. This happened after they put together a strike for “bread and peace” after over 2 million Russians were killed in World War I. The women kept striking for 4 more days. Many people opposed them, such as political leaders. The Czar forced the provisional Government to give women the right to vote.

The UN first started celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975. Then two years later, in December of 1977, the General Assembly officially created a resolution for a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. This resolution states that member states (countries that are part of the UN) can celebrate International Women’s Day on any day that works for them based on their cultures.

Today, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world in many different ways. The International Women’s Day website recommends many ways to celebrate the day by making a difference. They tell people to identify their goals, identify their audience, and then decide what you can do; just a few of the ways they suggest are their downloadable selfie cards, social cards, and posters. You can also order event packs, which help you run a women’s day event.

The International Women’s Day also tells readers about the #BalanceforBetter tag. Social media is a great way to spread awareness of inequalities and educate others. Something as simple as a Women’s Day filter on Snapchat can inspire others to learn and remind people of the day’s significance. If you want to make a difference, use tags including the #BalanceforBetter and #InternationalWomensDay tags, or simply spread the word.

Visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/HowToPlanIWD for more information.

Vietnam Summit

Less than a month ago, the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, met for a second time to discuss economic sanctions and nuclear weapons. The first time the two met, they met in Singapore. This time, the pair traveled to the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, to talk. Trump is the first American president to meet a North Korean head of state.

The first time the two talked was on June 12, in the summer of 2018. They met in Singapore and discussed North Korea’s nuclear program. Trump said the talks went well and there has been less tension, but there has yet to be any real progress.

The summit started at 6:30PM Vietnam time, which is exactly 12 hours ahead of East Coast time. The next morning, at 9:00AM, Trump and Kim met privately to talk.

After their private meeting was done, the two went to a large meeting with several top aides from each country. This meeting carried into a working lunch that featured the same people as the meeting.

At around 2PM, Trump and Kim signed an agreement. After the signing, a press conference was held that both leaders attended. The two then separated until 7PM, when they met again for a formal dinner.

The results of the summit weren’t what Trump claimed they were, but they weren’t nothing. Trump claimed North Korea would be fully denuclearized, which they are not, but the tensions have eased and North Korea and the US are no longer threatening war.

North Korea also released American hostages ahead of the summit, which is good, and the US has promised to stop “provocative” military drills with South Korea.

North Korea also promised to start to denuclearize, but they could go back on that at any time. The results weren’t massive but they were a start.

Valentine’s Day history

Valentine’s Day has gone and passed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a history lesson on it.

It started as a feast to honor saints and to celebrate romance. In the 18th century, it became less of a feast to celebrate saints and more of a day to give the people you loved chocolates, roses, and heart-shaped cards.

In the 19th century, hand-written cards were largely replaced with mass produced Valentine’s cards from companies. People also started giving keys to their valentine to show that they “unlocked their heart,” and they were also given to children to ward off epilepsy. The Orthodox and Lutheran are often the most to celebrate it.

The 1800s was when most companies started selling what we use today to celebrate: boxes of chocolates, roses, and cards with Cupids.

Around 190 million cards are sent in the United States, and that doesn’t include the millions that children in schools hand out to their classmates. It is a HUGE source for money in the country.

There’s also many movies and cartoons based around Valentine’s Day. The TV show Parks and Rec also made their own “Galentine’s Day,” which is a day to celebrate your female friends.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day for romance, it’s also meant to celebrate anyone you deem important in your life.

Chinese Lunar New Year

The Chinese Lunar New Year occurs every year around January or February and lasts for about 15 days. This year, the lunar new year will start on February 5th, lasting till the 19th. The Chinese calendar goes according to the moon and each year is represented by an animal.

The usage of animals originally came from the worship of animals, but there are also many legends that tell a story of a race between the animals that were ordered by the Jade Emperor. There are twelve animals that are, in order: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The zodiac animals repeats after twelve years, and this year is the last animal of the twelve: the pig. Each zodiac animal has their own traits, and some are more compatible with others while each has a zodiac animal it is not compatible with at all. People believe that the zodiac signs can determine your fortune, marriage, career, and many more.

On the last day, there is a huge festival celebrated called the Lantern Festival. To prepare for the Lantern Festival many children, through the celebrations, create colorful lanterns as a tradition that has been around for over 2,000 years. In the earlier years people would light lanterns as gifts and offerings for the gods to their heavenly place.

The Lantern Festival, also known as the Spring Festival, is mainly celebrated for a reunion with your family. Many people from all around the world come back to China to celebrate the new year. Not only do relatives visit their family but also their in-laws or maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend. Over many years there have been many different variations of lanterns. Different lanterns have different meanings to bring fortune to them.

There are many other activities that the Chinese do for their Lunar New Year, but before even celebrating the new year families will clean their houses, set up couplets (poems), and prepare for a great dinner feast. Foods that are normally eaten for the New Year’s celebration will each have a meaning to them. For example, fish is eaten to represent prosperity and when you eat long noodles you are not to bite them off because the noodle represents the length of your life.

Each day until the Lantern Festival, is a celebration of something. According to nationsonline.org, the first through the seventh day is the celebration of birthdays from the different zodiac animals. The eighth day is a completion day of reunion and praying to the Jade Emperor, and the ninth day is celebrating the Jade Emperor’s birthday. The tenth through the twelfth day is feasting, but the thirteenth day is to rest and and eat things that’ll help your dignstive system. The fourteenth day is the preparation day for the Lantern Festival, and last, but not least, the fifteenth day is the Lantern Festival celebration.

Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February; Presidents’ Day 2019, occurred on Monday, February 18. George Washington was the first president of the U.S.A. His first term as president lasted from 1789 to 1793 and his second term as president lasted  from 1793 to 1797. Washington is often known as the “Father of the United States” and is one of the best known American politicians ever.

Washington’s Birthday was celebrated  first as a holiday in the District of Columbia in the 1880s, then it became an holiday in 1885. The holiday was originally celebrated, in 1971, on the anniversary of George Washington’s birth, on February 22. This holiday was moved to the third Monday in February later.

The idea behind the name change was to create a holiday that did not recognize a specific president, but rather celebrated the office of the presidency.

This holiday is known as “Washington’s Birthday,” but is best known as Presidents’ Day. Washington’s Birthday honors the first president of the U.S.A, and the life work of George Washington. We recognize George Washington in many ways on currency, statues, and portraits. George Washington inspires us to this day, particularly federal workers who uphold what he helped create.

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