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DOING THE JAILHOUSE SHOCK HAUNTED CELL TOUR TAKES NO PRISONERS.

Byline: Bhavna Mistry Staff Writer

VALENCIA - Many spent time in jail, but it was all in the name of fun and to raise money for local charities.

The Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's station hosted it's 12th annual Haunted Jailhouse on Sunday, hoping to build a relationship with local residents and provide a safe community event.

``This is a place for kids to come, enjoy the day and have a safe outing,'' said Deputy Patrick Rissler of the Community Relations Office, which helps organize the event. ``We make it fun for everyone.''

Among the groups the event benefits are the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club, the Santa Clarita Valley Boosters, City of Hope, SCV Newhall Optimist Club and Mothers Unlimited.

Tana Fernandez, 36, of Valencia came to the event with her son Nick, 11. The two have been coming to the event for the past 10 years and find it a great community event.

``I like playing the games,'' said Nick, who had won a jump rope and basketball. ``Everyone is really friendly.''

Wearing his own ghost costume from ``Scary Movie,'' he and his mom were looking forward to visiting the haunted jailhouse and the ``dunk the deputy'' attractions.

Dressed as a soldier and carrying an American flag, 4-year-old Sean Cesta said his favorite thing was looking at the police cars. The patriotic youngster said he hoped to be a deputy sheriff one day.

Organizers expect 5,000 people will attend the five-hour event, which has received several awards and is now being duplicated at other sheriff's stations.

``The weather's great and everyone's having a good time,'' said Jim Ventress, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, which hopes to make $7,000 or $8,000 in the event. ``This is the safest place you can be.''

Teen-agers at the club volunteer to create and present the highlight of the event, the haunted jailhouse, which takes those willing through a darkly decorated area of the station's jail cells.

While organizers are pleased to have a high attendance during the event, they always warn that this is the only time they like to see people behind bars.

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Shelby Eichman, 8, gets a good scare Sunday as she and her mother make their way through the Haunted Jailhouse at the Santa Clarita sheriff's station.

(2 -- color) Rebecca Stivers, 10, came dressed as an evil clown to Sunday's Haunted Jailhouse at the Santa Clarita sheriff's station.

(3 -- color) Little cowboy Cameron Gearhart, 2, of Saugus holds his father's hand as he makes his way through Sunday's Haunted Jailhouse.

Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 29, 2001
Words:439
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