Camp Sauble: Cages of Carnage begins Saturday.

October 12, 2021

this Camp Sauble: Cages of Carnage begins Saturday.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

FREE SOIL TOWNSHIP — The third annual Camp Sauble: Cages of Carnage begins Saturday, Oct. 16. The event is a fundraiser for Free Soil/Meade Fire Department and Grant Township Fire Department and takes place at the former Camp Sauble state prison camp located on Free Soil Road just east of Reek Road.

Visitors will find a whole new experience compared to the previous two years.

“Each year we try to completely change it up,” said Free Soil/Meade Fire Chief Vince Williams. Besides new scare exhibits, one of the biggest changes this year is that visitors will be able to choose between two different paths.

“Each path is a completely different experience,” Williams said. “This provides an opportunity for the visitor to come back and also will, hopefully, reduce wait time.”

Cages of Carnage has been a popular event. In 2019, 4,001 people visited. A scary pandemic didn’t stop thrill seekers as 4,043 people visited.

The cost is $10 per person, per path. The event takes place 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, Friday, Oct. 22, Saturday Oct. 23, Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30.

Planning for the event begins almost immediately after the previous event.

“We have spent hundreds of hours out here, beginning last winter,” said Grant Fire Chief Ron Melchert. “There are always repairs and upgrades to make to the facility to make it safer and to make it a better experience for the visitor.”

In addition to the fire department personnel who help, the event requires over 100 volunteers each night. Those volunteers include actors, background personnel and security. Most of the security is provided by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police, along with volunteer sheriff reservists, off-duty police officers, and firefighters.

The event raises a significant amount of money for both fire departments. While the departments are funded through Mason County Rural Fire Authority tax millages, there is often equipment that needs to be purchased that isn’t in the annual budget.

Williams said Free Soil/Meade Fire Department is planning on using funds from this year’s event for an enclosed trailer. Melchert said it’s likely Grant Fire Department will be upgrading some of its vehicle extrication equipment.

Speaking about scary pandemics, Williams said volunteers will be continuously be sanitizing high traffic areas and visitors are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.

For more information visit the Cages of Carnage website here; Facebook page here.

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