Summer Bash to help fund Harmony’s Monster Bash is Saturday


CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER Jay Masters stands inside the cavernous structure that houses the very popular haunted house known as Monster Bash in Harmony.
By: 
Charlie Warner

“We use the money that we raise during our Summer Bash to make improvements to our facility. Over the past seven years we have raised over $72,000 during our fall Monster Bash that is used to help support the arts programs at Fillmore Central High School,” Jay Masters explained. “We try not to use any of that money we raise from our haunted house experience each year for any of the physical improvements to our building. That’s what the Summer Bash this Saturday is all about.”

Masters was referring to a fundraising event, which will take place this Saturday night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Monster Bash Haunted House, located at 150 1st Street Northwest in Harmony. Organizers of the event hope to raise enough money to complete “phase III” of the electrical system in the massive building, as well as pay for the handicapped front ramp and improvements to the restrooms.

There will be a cash raffle with a $500 first prize, $250 for second and $100 for third. There will be a dozen or so items in a silent auction, card raffles, as well as several other games of chance. Brian Berg will be providing the music, beginning at 8 p.m. and various snacks and beverages will be available. Tours of the facility will be held. The price of admission is $10.

Harmony’s haunted house has been quite the success. The annual event has been held in the former lumberyard building, just west of downtown Harmony, for several years now. In 2017, Monster Bash Six was named the top Halloween attraction in the entire state by MinnesotaHauntedHouses.com.

“That was huge,” Masters said last week with a big smile. “We’re talking about competing against all the major venues, communities and cities in the state, including Valley Fair, and Mall of America. The year before we were named the third best in the state, but to be named the top attraction in the state really speaks volumes to all the hard work students, parents and school staff donate for this project each year.”

For the past seven years, a very dedicated group of parents, educators, students and music supporters, led by Masters of Harmony, have donated copious amounts of time to put on the Fillmore Central High School’s Annual Monster Bash. During this seven-year run, just over $72,000 has been raised to help the band and choir members fund a bi-annual band/choir trip.

Masters came up with the Monster Bash idea when he had two kids who participated in the Fillmore Central music program. He and former instrumental director Lane Powell discussed how the cost per student to take part in the music trips ran between $750 and $1,000, depending on the destination. They realized that this could be a substantial financial burden for some.

“A lot of families just couldn’t come up with that kind of money, especially if they had more than one child to pay for,” Masters observed. “So we came up with this idea. Students and their parents earn points for every hour they work. Then, we total up the proceeds for the year and divide it by the number of points. Some students (and their parents) put in enough time to pay for the majority of the cost of the trip.”

During the first five years, the Monster Bash was held in the gymnasium of the Harmony Community Center (the former Harmony Elementary School). And during those five years the event grew in popularity. But there were some logistical hurdles that continued to make the event a very challenging endeavor.

When the former lumberyard building in Harmony came up for sale, Masters and a group of residents from the Fillmore Central area started brainstorming and came up with a plan to purchase the massive building and began retrofitting it into a multi-use facility. A board of directors was created and a 501(c)3 non-profit organization was formed. During the next three years, tons of progress has been made. But the remodeling project continues to be a work in progress.

“We have made some amazing progress with our remodeling project of the building,” Masters noted. “But we’ve got more updates to complete. We want to make this a building that the entire community can be proud of. And we want to make it available for all types of parties and community functions. That’s really what Saturday’s event is all about.”

Somewhere between 40 and 80 students and adults participate in Monster Bash each fall. Some help with designing and building the sets. Others serve as live actors, while others take tickets and assist those attending the event.

Monster Bash has been expanded to include the very active drama department. Drama instructor Jackie Whitacre and some of the drama students have helped with the ghoulish makeup and other special effects that add to the event each year. Some of the proceeds now also go to help fund the drama department.

For more information, log onto Monster Bash’s Facebook site.