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The latest in themed entertainment industry news…

The Cauldron Casts a Spell on Buena Park

Southern California is dense with bars, gastropubs, speakeasies, lounges and taverns. However, no one has quite seen anything like The Cauldron Spirits & Brews, which has officially opened in Buena Park, directly across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.

A long-time dream of owner Lara Hanneman, The Cauldron is unique in that it’s an upscale bar setting wrapped up in an environment one would expect to find in a haunted house maze at Knott’s Scary Farm. That’s no surprise, as Lara worked at Knott’s for over two decades, ultimately becoming the park’s Creative Director, overseeing all aspects of Halloween Haunt and the property in general throughout the years. For Haunt fans, it is a familiar environment – like stepping inside the event’s now-famous Trick or Treat maze for the evening to enjoy cocktails and food. For guests not familiar with Lara’s past or Knott’s Scary Farm, it’s a walk on the slightly spooky side – without any gore or anyone jumping out of the shadows; it’s a moody, dimly-lit immersive experience that speaks to all ages.

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Universal Studios Hollywood Announces First-Ever EVE Celebration to Ring in the New Year

One of the biggest nights of the year – New Year’s Eve – just got bigger in Los Angeles! Universal Studios Hollywood has just announced its brand-new EVE celebration, the perfect way to count down the last hours of 2017, and ring in the first of 2018 throughout the theme park.

Guests enjoying Universal Studios Hollywood have the entire day and evening to experience its world-class attractions and shows, including Grinchmas as well as Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which features the brand-new Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show every 20 minutes or so after dark. At 9pm, EVE begins, radiating throughout the park from three unique entertainment hubs as DJs and live entertainment mark the final hours of 2017.

EVE’s three uniquely-themed party zones will be found throughout the theme park – at Universal Plaza, just steps away from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; Simpsons Plaza, in front of The Simpsons Ride; and an area adjacent to Jurassic Park: The Ride down in the Lower Lot. As the final moments of 2017 slip through the hourglass, and the clock strikes 2018, the festivities culminate with a spectacular fireworks display.

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Southern California’s Beloved Home Haunt Boney Island Closed Permanently

Boney Island 2017This one hurts. Not only is it personal, it is a sobering wake-up call to the entire SoCal haunt community in general. Boney Island, the beloved, family-friendly home haunt in Sherman Oaks has been cancelled; permanently shuttered, thanks to a couple of uncooperative neighbors and city officials that saw an opportunity to make some money, rather than stand behind an event that brought so much happiness and good to Los Angeles. The announcement of Boney Island’s closure just days before its 2017 season isn’t the end of the story – it’s the beginning of something much, much bigger and important that everyone needs to be aware of.

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Sleep No More Alumni Bringing Waking La Llorona to San Diego for Halloween 2017

When you think of San Diego, you think of gorgeous beaches, college coeds, Shamu, and Comic-Con. At Halloween, there are a handful of well-established haunted attractions across the city, but nothing much in the way of immersive, theatrical-style experiences as you find in Los Angeles and elsewhere. That’s about to change with Waking La Llorona, a multi-sensory, fully immersive theatrical presentation that happens to you – all around you – alone.

Waking La Llorona premiered this August in San Diego at a sold-out workshop production that was presented by The Old Globe through the generous support of The San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst program – an organization that provides career opportunities for local professional artists so that the entire community benefits culturally through the arts. This production is set to run once more at the La Jolla Playhouse as part of their Without Walls Festival next month. The buzz that Waking La Llorona has already created has led to those performances at WOW already being sold-out. We have not personally experienced this production, but have been told by numerous friends and colleagues how absolutely fantastic Waking La Llorona is; and it should be. Several of the key people that have created Waking La Llorona were responsible for producing the cornerstone theatrical experience Sleep No More in New York City.

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Rotten Apple 907 Home Haunt Needs Community Support

It’s been a really rough year for the team behind Rotten Apple 907, one of Southern California’s greatest home haunts. Located in Burbank, the team – led by Diane and Preston Meyer – has been a staple of the haunt community since 2003. Recently, the team encountered a nasty setback from Mother Nature in the form of a flood, which wiped out a lot of their materials where they were being stored on a property in Acton, California.

Props, walls, and other components necessary for their annual haunt were either destroyed, washed away, or covered with filthy debris and mud. To add insult to injury, while the Meyers were waiting for the water to recede enough to try and salvage their stuff, a bee colony moved in and made themselves a hive, which also had to be taken care of.

To say that 2017 has been a rough one for Rotten Apple 907 and its team is an understatement. These are good people who create a tremendous attraction – with a new theme – each and every year, with all of their proceeds going to local charities. Since 2003, Rotten Apple 907 has donated thousands of dollars to people in need. And, as luck would have it, now they are the ones in need.

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