Enchanted Forest returns to Independence's George Owens Park

Mike Genet

Enchanted Forest, the beloved non-scary family friendly Halloween celebration, is being held in George Owens Nature Park in Independence the next two weekends. 

Joy Frazier Boyle, one of the new co-directors along with husband Jamie, said participants have eager to produce the fantasy-themed event after it was canceled last year because of the pandemic. 

A pair of actors perform a skit in a prior-year production of Enchanted Forest at George Owens Nature Park. The non-scary Halloween event runs this weekend and next weekend.

“Many volunteers and actors have returned to us after the break,” she said. “We have a really dedicated group of people. We also have a group of new actors that have been chomping at the bit for the last year.” 

Enchanted Forest takes visitors along trails and later, via hayride, to a castle constructed next the pond. Adults and teens play storybook, fairytale and popular movie characters in various skits.  

It's a benefit for the non-profit Powerhouse Theatre Foundation, which supports community theater in Independence. Show tours runs 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Oct. 29-30 at the park, 1601 S. Speck Road, across from Pioneer Ridge Middle School in eastern Independence. Admission is $3 for person over the age of 2. 

Volunteers construct the castle for Enchanted Forest at  George Owens Nature Park.

The Boyles took over for longstanding directors John and Nancy Eppert, who joined the show shortly after it started in the early 1990s. Joy said the Enchanted Forest team was showed “incredible” support when the family battled some recent illness, and as new directors she and her husband have a “steep learning curve” for the event. 

“It has so many moving parts and coordination with so many outside entities,” Joy said, adding that the city's Parks and Recreation team has been  helpful. “We are so grateful for everyone's help and patience with us as we learn.” 

The Boyles haven't made many big changes, she said. They've tried to liven up some skits and add more superheroes. 

“Jamie and I are really trying to gear the event toward what our 7-year-old likes,” she said.