During a couple nights in October, it is known that your favorite storybook and movie characters come to life in a wooded area of Independence.

The Enchanted Forest at George S. Owens Park in Independence returns for its 23rd year this year. This non-scary event has you and your family taking part in a guided tour through the park’s wooded trail where you will encounter Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz”, The Little Mermaid, and even Batman and Robin.

As you stroll along the candlelit trail, you intermittently stop and watch entertaining skits performed by these characters. Once you reach the end of the trail, you will board a hayride where you will witness a ship invaded by swashbuckling pirates on one of the park’s lakes. The hayride will finally return you back where you and the family can purchase refreshments at the park’s lodge.

“It’s a great event perfect for the whole family,” said Patti Shockley, one of the Enchanted Forest’s coordinators. “The children always enjoy seeing their favorite characters come to life.”

The Enchanted Forest opened this past weekend and continues Friday and Saturday starting at 7 p.m. and lasting until 9 p.m. Shockley advises attendees to arrive early as the line grows rather quickly. You will not be able to take part in the event if you arrive after 9 p.m. However, if you find yourself waiting in line after the Enchanted Forest’s closing time, the event will make sure you and your family are still allowed entry.

The kids can explore an ambulance and firetruck while you’re waiting in line, and even some fictional characters greet and visit as well. Refreshments such as hot cider, hot dogs, and pretzels are available for purchase.

Admission is $3 per person and a portion of sales supports the community’s theater program. Shockley elaborated that proceeds will three different theatre troupes that all perform at the Roger T. Sermon Community Center throughout the year: City Theatre of Independence, Encore Theatre, and the Children’s Performing Theatre.

The Enchanted Forest is at George S. Owens Nature Park at 1601 S. Speck Road in Independence, across from Pioneer Ridge Middle School.