Phobius hosts new Christmas event

By Derrick Forsythe, Record Staff Writer
Posted 11/7/19

Phobius in Truesdale is known for its extreme Halloween events, but last weekend, Dec. 15-16, was all about Christmas.Owner Justin Fears provided a first-ever Phobius Winter Festival.“I thought it …

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Phobius hosts new Christmas event

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Phobius in Truesdale is known for its extreme Halloween events, but last weekend, Dec. 15-16, was all about Christmas.Owner Justin Fears provided a first-ever Phobius Winter Festival.“I thought it was a great event,” said Fears. “All the feedback we got was really positive, and the kids really enjoyed the games and crafts and all the different options.”A few hundred people flowed through the Phobius grounds on Pinckney Street in Truesdale, engaging in interactive booths and exhibits. Visitors also had the opportunity to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with Krampus and Emmitt the Mule.While last weekend was merely a sample of what Fears hopes is to come, it provided him a springboard for moving forward.“Next year we’re going to have a fully lighted walkthrough trail,” said Fears.He likens it to the annual holiday traditions at Zumwalt Park in O’Fallon or Rotary Park in Wentzville.“Like a Winter Wonderland,” he added. “It’ll be interactive, so we’ll actually have Christmas characters as you walk through like Jack Frost, The Grinch, Elves, Gingerbread man.”This year visitors paid $5 and were given tokens toward activities of their choice. Fears was initially concerned about hosting an outdoor event in the days following torrential rain, but he ultimately felt it was a success.“We were super-excited about people’s response to it,” said Fears. “It’s definitely something that we’re going to grow into an annual event. It’ll keep getting bigger, and we’ll tweak it into what the community wants to see.”Fears says he wanted the event to be family-friendly and affordable. He put particular emphasis on not making the event scary, as is intended during the haunt.While he is excited about the potential, Fears says there are still many unknowns. He is debating whether to host the Winter Festival over multiple days or consolidate it. And moving forward the event will likely be in the evening to accentuate the lighted exhibits.“It seems like it might work best if we keep the hours shorter, but those are decisions we still need to discuss,” added Fears.

Sadie, left, and Sophie Case, have their picture taken with Mrs. Claus during the Phobius Winter Festival held Dec. 15. Visitors had the opportunity to meet a variety of Christmas characters, a cast on which owner Justin Fears says he plans to expand.

Record photo/Derrick Forsythe

One of the characters at the Phobius Winter Festival Dec. 15 was Emmitt the mule, who had played a role in Phobius’ haunted exhibit in October. Pictured from left, Emma Busken pets Emmitt while talking to his owner, Kim Hitchcock.

Record photo/Derrick Forsythe

Mellisa Mudd takes a picture of Maverick Mudd with the ornament he made during the Phobius Winter Festival Dec. 15. A few hundred visitors ventured out to participate in games and crafts and meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Krampus as well as Emmitt the mule. Also pictured are Audrey Mudd and Nathan Mudd.

Record photo/Derrick Forsythe

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