Pirates appear in this Great Northern/SP&S red caboose that was built in 1909. It is currently in restoration. (Courtesy/Joe Tracy)
Most Halloween themed events don’t require you to get past an FBI agent into a trolley barn full of paranormal activity.
But at Powerland Heritage Park, October offers a chance to immerse yourself in a story.
“Pirates of the Portal Stone” allows visitors to help a pirate find his pirate community after they disappeared during a solar eclipse in the late 1700s.
The event takes places every Saturday and Sunday in October at 3995 Brooklake Rd N.E. Tickets cost $15 per person must be purchased online.
Joe Tracy, event manager, said the president of the Oregon Electrical Railway Historical Society, Gene Fabryka, thought a Halloween event would be a good fundraiser to help restore old trolleys.
They wanted to incorporate the 2017 solar eclipse into the storyline because it was a big event for the museum, which is located in Brooks and hosts the annual Great Oregon Steam-Up, which features antique equipment.
Tracy envisioned a pirate community that disappeared during the 1778 solar eclipse. Everyone was forgotten until the 2017 eclipse, when a sole pirate reappeared through a time warp. “This time bringing back one pirate and strange creatures from other universes that occupied the trolley barn. All the pirate wants to do is get friends and family back and that’s why they’re enlisting guests.”
He said they didn’t want to make the experience too scary, and there aren’t any jump scares or loud noises. During the opening weekend of the event, he said there were children as young as two.
There’s a trolley ride to Yellowbone National Park, a walking tour of the “spooky” trolley barn, and a pumpkin patch. The entire story takes about 30 minutes.
“We’re trying to on our limited budget, create a really immersive amateur experience for people,” he said.
Tracy said kids got really invested in the story. One group found the “portal stone” to help get the pirates family back and a wizard congratulated them.
“They all start cheering. That was the most beautiful feeling when someone is so invested, they start cheering when they rescue the pirates,” he said.
Tracy said there are points in the show that are scripted, but the performers found that kids would start developing a plot in some of the parts.
For example, when they’re faced with an FBI agent who’s telling them they can’t come into the barn, one kid said they’d distract the agent while the rest ran in.
“That has us talking about can we get rid of scripted lines and have guests come up with a way to get around the FBI agent and get into the building,” he said.
Tracy encouraged visitors to dress in costume.
Guests must try and spot a skeleton watchtower on their way to Yellowbone National Haunt to retrieve a Portal Stone in Powerland Halloween: Pirates of the Portal Stone.(Courtesy/Joe Tracy)
Two “guests” at the Witches Brew Café enjoy the atmosphere in front of a Brussels trolley from Brussels, Belgium that was built in 1937. (Courtesy/Joe Tracy)
A snoring pirate takes a nap in the pirate celebration area of the Powerland Halloween: Pirates of the Portal Stone adventure. (Courtesy/Joe Tracy)
Guests will ride on a double-decker trolley (only the first floor is available for the event) from Blackpool, England that was built in 1927. (Courtesy/Joe Tracy)
Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected].
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