Winter Nights at Sam’s Returns!

TPA's Winter Nights at Trader Sam's

Theme Park Adventure’s Winter Nights at Sam’s returned in a big way Sunday night, January 13, marking the first fan meet of 2013! After a very modest showing during December, we’re really excited to say that this month’s meet was the largest TPA gathering so far, with more than 75 people in attendance at the Disneyland Hotel!

Folks from across the industry came to hang at Trader Sam’s, including teams representing many haunts, the crew from Garner Holt Productions, and more! In addition to haunters and industry peeps, many fans were on hand as well, because at the end of the day, that’s what we all are – huge fans of the themed entertainment industry!

Sinister Pointe at TPA's Winter Nights at Trader Sam'sHaunts represented this month were Knott’s Scary Farm, Chambers of the Mausoleum/Labyrinth of Lost Relics, Queen Mary Dark Harbor, Higgins Manor, Haunted Mansion Haunt, Sinister Pointe, The Empty Grave, and Halloween Horror Nights. One of the coolest things we feel Theme Park Adventure has accomplished is bringing all of these haunters together in one place each month to mix and mingle and share their love of their industry without the B.S. of politics and drama holding anyone back. It’s 100% friendly at the TPA meets and we’re extremely pleased with this fine group of people that comes to mingle each month.

We also had some special guests show up this month! Garner Holt joined the group, which was awesome, as he and the team and Garner Holt Productions is hard at work on the major renovation of the Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm! John Waite, a TPA gathering regular, also was on hand; he was one of Bud Hurlbut’s original employees on the Log Ride and one of the first to help spook up both Log Ride and Mine Train for Halloween Haunt, making John a Scary Farm legend! Voice actor Mark Silverman also came to hang out; he’s also becoming a TPA regular at our events! For those not familiar, Mark is best known for the voice of Rod Serling in Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction! It is so much fun introducing him and watching Disney fans freak out; I know I sure did the first time I met Mark and he did the voice! Too freakin’ cool! Our good friend Jon Autopsy also stopped by to hang out and talk shop; he’s becoming a huge force of nature in the haunt world with his musical soundtracks!

TPA's Winter Nights at Trader Sam'sThere were also two other very special guests in attendance this month; David Markland, from CreepyLA, and Lora Ivanova, who did the PR for Delusion, one of Los Angeles’ hottest haunted attractions for the past two years! David and Lora were on hand to announce with us that a brand new haunter convention is coming this spring to Los Angeles, and that Theme Park Adventure is going to be one of the cornerstones of the event! We purposely didn’t release too much information; that will be coming in the very near future! What we did announce, is that this convention will be for the haunted attraction industry and its fans. This is not going to be a horror convention; it is specifically for haunted attractions and Halloween enthusiasts. We all feel that Southern California is home to some of the best haunts in the world, with some of the most gifted designers and artists anywhere; it’s long overdue that Los Angeles has its own haunter convention. And so, it’s coming, folks! Stay tuned for more information here on TPA as well as CreepyLA! David and Lora spent hours chatting with various haunters, getting their input on what type of panels, demonstrations and content they’d like to see; it was a very busy night at Sam’s!

As temperatures dipped into the 40s and lower, everyone ate and drank under the Tiki torches and heat lamps on the patio outside of Trader Sam’s and Tangaroa Terrace, laughing and hanging out. On hand also were folks from Theme Park Talk, Haunt Horror, Behind the Thrills, and Dstar Photography!

The TPAers all joined in and sang Happy Birthday to yours truly and long-time TPAer Iris Markofsky, led by Cindy Robichaud and Dave Starbuck, who bestowed upon me a Trader Sam’s shrunken head mug, which I hadn’t bought yet! Very nice surprise after the trauma of a billion people singing at us! Huge thanks to everyone for the kind words and wonderful birthday sing along!

Also, a huge thanks going out to the gang at Trader Sam’s and Tangaroa Terrace! They are always so very hospitable to our group, and we thank them for their hard work in making this a fantastic place for our monthly meets!

TPA’s Winter Nights at Sam’s will conclude next month before becoming Spring Nights at Sam’s, so if you haven’t gotten your TPA Tiki button for this time of year, you still have one more chance! We anticipate a huge turn out next month, and cannot wait to see what fun it brings! See you all then!

– Rick West

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