INLET BEACH — There’s a trope among horror movies of strange and terrible events occurring at cabins in the woods, and this weekend life will imitate art at Camp Helen State Park.
The park’s seventh annual “Ghost Walk and History Tour” will be from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, featuring stories, songs and spooky lore of ghosts, Indians, pirates and more, which will be shared with visitors during tours of the restored areas of the park.
Managed by the Department of Environmental Protection, Camp Helen State Parkis west of Panama City Beach on U.S. 98 at the west end of the Phillips Inlet bridge, just inside Bay County. The entrance is south of the divided highway, about 6 miles west of State 79.
Organizers want visitors to be aware that the ground is rough in some places, and flashlights are recommended. Children are welcome and encouraged to wear costumes. Spooky treats of “shipwreck cookies” and “witch’s cauldron punch” will be served to all who attend.
Parking within the park will be limited to individuals with disabilities only. General parking will be at the Winn Dixie shopping center one mile east of the park, at the junction of U.S. 98 and Alternate U.S. 98. Free shuttle buses will run from the parking area to the park throughout the entire event.
Park entrance fees are waived for the event. Admission is free, but donations of $5 per adult and $3 per child under 12 made to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park Inc., will be appreciated. Sponsorships are still available for those who wish to support the event (for more information, call the park at 233-5059).
CampHelen is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and by Lake Powell, one of the largest coastal dune lakes in Florida. The 180-acre property has a long and varied history, with prehistoric middens and mounds indicating humans inhabited the area more than 4,000 years ago.
From 1945 until 1987, the park was a company resort for the employees of an Alabama textile mill. Some of those buildings have been restored. The park is generally for day use only; this event is a rare after-hours activity. On other days, activities include swimming, beachcombing, nature study, hiking and both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
GHOST WALK AND HISTORY TOUR
- When: 5-8:30 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Camp Helen State Park, 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway
- Details: 215-4651