With a decline in staffing and more workers needed, Wagner Farms, 5841 Old Oneida Road, has canceled its upcoming “Haunted Halloween” events.
“Three years of building, creating and improving unique scenes and it comes down to no one wanting to work or volunteer while being compensated for their time in the name of fund and community support of events,” Wagner Farms wrote on its Facebook page late Wednesday. “With only three of our original 35 members returning and eight new people interested, we just are simply out of time to put together any haunted events worthwhile this year.”
Daytime events will remain open, along with the school field trips and produce stand. U-pick pumpkins will be open this Saturday, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Owner Ron Wagner said they were looking at the bumper crop this year, much of it might remain in the field and end up as compost due to a lack of workers. “It’s all due to a lack of staff,” he said. When asked what the foreseeable future and next year held, Wagner said he didn’t know if there would even be a next year.
“We went from a record breaking year in 2020 to another record breaking year in 2021 — but for the opposite reason,” Wagner said. “We’re still in business as of today.” While Wagner Farms laments the inability to hold its Haunted Halloween events, they are attempting to remain positive.
“It frees [us] up to do much-needed repairs, upgrade our greenhouse structures, and long overdue building maintenance,” the post read, going on to explain that operating events like Haunted Halloween takes a lot of work and resources, from gallons of fuel and tiki oil to electricity and more.
“We operated at a loss for three years and did it more as a public service to the community,” Wagner said. “That’s the hard facts. It’s never been a money maker and it never will be.”
More than 30 comments were left on the Facebook announcement, with many people expressing their disappointment while offering sympathy.
“So sad to hear,” one commenter wrote. “We had a blast last Halloween season...”
“That is so sad to hear,” another wrote. “You put so much into every aspect of your farm, and I sincerely admire your commitment...”
Wagner Farms thanked the community for their support and encouraged people to stop by the farm.
Wagner Farms is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/WagnerFarmsRomeNY or call 315-339-5182.