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By Tammye McDuff
Attracting more than 8,000 fans for its debut in July 2016, Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival will return bigger and more terrifying to the Long Beach Convention Center July 29th and July 30th. Enthusiasts of all things Halloween and horror will be able to enter into over 100,000 square feet of artisan vendors, live entertainment, specialty workshops, makeup demonstrations, short film screenings, haunted attraction previews, and an enormous dark zone known as the Hall of Shadows. Midsummer Scream is a joint production from the teams behind CreepyLA and Theme Park Adventure.
“We are thrilled to return to Long Beach this summer after such an exciting first year in 2016,” says David Markland, Midsummer Scream’s Executive Director. “Halloween and horror go hand-in-hand, and nowhere is the fan dedication to both more intense and heartfelt than right here in Southern California. In just a few weeks, the Halloween season officially begins here on the West Coast; Long Beach has proven to be the perfect home for the festival and MidSummer Scream leads the charge with the best fans in the world.
One of the hallmarks of Midsummer Scream is its lineup of world-class panel presentations. This year, the Terrace Theater becomes the convention’s main stage, with a capacity to seat more than 3,000 fans at a time. The biggest tourist attractions on the West Coast are set to return to the main stage, unveiling their Halloween 2017 plans throughout the weekend, along with a stunning lineup of presentations.
Beyond the Fifth Dimension: Creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is sure to thrill theme park fans, welcoming key members of the attraction’s design and development team who will discuss Tower’s inception for Walt Disney World, and each iteration that followed. Mark Silverman, the voice of Rod Serling in the attraction, will join the discussion.
Master Creature Makers: From Dinosaurs to Fantasy Worlds, hosted by Jeff Tucker of 91 Reasons podcast, will take a closer look at some of the world’s best practical creature makers, and the challenges their companies face in an increasingly digital world. Jeff will be joined on stage by Erich Grey Litoff from the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, Emmy award-winning creature designer and filmmaker Kirk R. Thatcher, themed entertainment icon Garner Holt of Garner Holt Productions, and John Criswell of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
Midsummer Scream’s second stage will offer seating for up to 750 guests at a time, featuring its own blockbuster lineup of presentations that include: The Winchester Mystery House will host a 60-minute presentation on Sunday, July 30th , featuring a look at never-before-opened areas of the mansion that are now featured on the new Explore More Tour, a sneak peek at the wildly-popular Hallowe’en Candlelight Tour, plus an exciting update on the upcoming Winchester motion picture, starring Helen Mirren.
One of the biggest draws to Midsummer Scream are major presentations by leading tourist attractions. During these blockbuster appearances, representatives of the greatest Halloween events in the world take to the main stage, connecting with their fans to discuss what each has in store for the Halloween season. Joining Midsummer Scream 2017 are Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest, and Knott’s Scary Farm.
Halloween fans don’t have to wait until October to mix and mingle with their favorite Dark Harbor characters; they’re going to populate the upper deck of the world-famous ocean liner all night long at the Sinister Circus, a costume ball featuring prizes and surprises.
Hall of Shadows will occupy over one third of the convention’s 90,000 square-foot show floor, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to preview more than a dozen stand-alone home and professional haunt experiences. In addition to terrifying haunted attractions, the Hall of Shadows will feature an elaborate Sleepy Hollow-themed entry portal. Walking through the creepy cemetery, guests will encounter eerie special effects and theme park-quality props and scenery. Once inside the Hall of Shadows, guests will experience more than a dozen “mini haunts”, a sampling of home and professional haunted attractions that can be found across the Southland this coming Halloween season.
For more information regarding dates and times for panels and events, and to purchase tickets, log on to MidsummerScream.org. Fans may sign up on the site for email notifications and announcements, including discounts and other special offers. Follow Midsummer Scream on social media –Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, Instagram: @MidsummerScream, and Facebook: facebook.com/midsummerscream.