Update: Hayrides Canceled Through Wednesday; Enhanced Security Expected
UPDATE: We wrote last week that hayrides scheduled for this past Friday and Saturday were canceled because of the high volume of alcohol-related incidents on Thursday night. One of the owners of Nittany Mountain Trail Rides told us then that hayrides could be canceled for the remainder of the season or certain groups could be excluded in the future. We spoke to that owner today to let us know what is going on.
R.B. Powell, owner of Nittany Mountain Trail Rides, said hayrides are canceled through Wednesday. Later in the week, he, along with other farm leaders who are away on vacation, will evaluate whether to cancel hayrides scheduled for this weekend.
“Let me be clear: Hayrides are not back on. We’re still evaluating, and some of the decision-makers are on vacation,” Powell said. “We have to have meetings with authorities to see what they want us to do.”
Although no plan has been finalized, Powell said he anticipates security will be beefed up if hayrides are allowed again. He would like to hire Securitas, a security company with a location in Altoona, to ensure safety for all guests and staff.
Security guards will not pat down hayride guests but will ask visitors as they arrive to open their coats to show they didn’t bring alcohol to the farm. Guards will be stationed throughout the farm to make sure no one appears intoxicated while there. Backpacks and other large bags will no longer be allowed under new security measures, which still have not been approved.
“We’d love to be able to screen out the bad apples,” Powell said. “That is what our focus is going to be with our assertive security.”
The security guards will only check large students groups that have caused problems in the past. Church groups, civic organizations, work parties, etc. will not be screened, Powell said.
The pick-up time of hayride groups will most likely be changed under new security stipulations. Powell said groups that are at the farm later in the night are usually more difficult for staff, so the pick-up time will be made earlier. Some hayrides are not picked up to be brought to the farm until 10:30 p.m., meaning they will be there until 1 or 2 a.m. New rules would make the latest pick-up time 9 p.m.
All of these measures remain tentative for the time being. We will have an update from Powell later in the week to report his finalized plans.