Saturday, October 30, 2010

Very disappointed!

There was a new event to look forward to on the Peninsula this year: Enchanted Halloween at Heritage Acres. Organised by the folks who put on the spectacular Luminara in Victoria, we turned up with high expectations of a great evening out in exchange for the rather stiff entrance fee.

We came away sadly disappointed.

There were good points, to be sure. The grounds were well-decorated in Halloween themes.

We enjoyed the musical performers and the comical elf in the creepy boathouse.

But beyond that, there was in fact very little to see.

Furthermore, we'd skipped our evening meal intending to support the event at the concession stall. We lined up, hungry, for about 20 minutes and ordered hot dogs. For $3 apiece we were given the tiniest, stingiest hot dogs I've ever seen in my life. About two mouthfuls each, even for the children.

We wandered around the rest of the village and stopped off last of all at the miniature train ride. The miniature railway, snaking for hundreds of yards through the forest, through tunnels and over bridges, is a must-do every time we visit.

But the line-up was staggering. Probably a combination of the number of people there and the fact that there was not much else to do. In the end even Matthew conceded that we were not going to wait over an hour for a ride and, sadly, we turned away.

To cap it all, stomachs rumbling, we headed back to the car intending to raid the freezer at home - and got stuck for half an hour in a traffic jam. An unbelievable first for this venue. The event organisers had allowed people to park on both sides of the narrow, kilometre-long road from the highway, leaving room in many places for only a single line of traffic down the middle. Half-way down this road, where it was at its narrowest, a convoy of exiting traffic came head-to-head with a line of vehicles trying to enter.

Obviously only a rocket scientist could ever predict out how that was going to work.

In summary, we felt that Heritage Acres usually put on a far more lively, atmospheric, and enjoyable evening out for their annual Christmas in the Village, and for half the price.

We thought this would be a great event to put Heritage Acres, a place we enjoy visiting but which seems to be little known in Victoria, firmly on the map. In the end our most fervent hope is that this disasterous event has not damaged the place's reputation for people who've never been before, and who are unlikely to want to return.


  1. Wow that is disappointed. Sorry your families night was wasted.

  2. Hmm, I find myself more interested in this Christmas in the Village event you linked to. Now *that* sounds fantastic!

    But, yes, I too am sorry for your family's disappointing outing.

  3. Yeah, it was a bummer, but we'll get over it ;)

    It'll be interesting to see if they've at least sorted the traffic arrangements out for the rest of the weekend.

    The Christmas event is lovely, David. I'll see if I can get a wider shot of the whole street this year to show how it looks all lit up. Very difficult to capture the atmosphere, though.

  4. So, unless they change it, you will enjoy and appreciate Christmas in the Village even more this sometimes takes disappointments like this to get us to appreciate the good things more.

    Will you let them know of your disappointment? Perhaps they could use the feedback...

    I always enjoy your blog.


  5. That's a good way of looking at it, Saloma. I don't expect things to change for the Christmas event; this weekend was organised by a totally separate group renting out the grounds so the two are unrelated.

    Yes, we've both passed on feedback. I recognised one of the helpers Friday evening who I often see on my weekend food forage. I bumped into him at the grocery store again yesterday. We chatted about the event and it turns out he's a friend of one of the organisers. Also Ali passed on comments to someone she knows at the Historical Society, so hopefully everyone can learn from it. I'd love to see something new like this succeed.

  6. Hi Ian,
    That's a real shame. It's hard to believe how disorganised the event turned out to be. It reminds me of a few AGM meetings I've been too.
    Anyway, I note you are using the words 'line-up' instead of queue. You are sure becoming bilingual eh.
    Take care, Gary.

  7. Ugh. There is nothing worse than going to place you love-and have certain expectations of-only to be let down like that. Ugh again. I also HATE when places serve stingy portions of food-there's nothing that makes me crankier-especially when there's nothing else to eat! Booo! Sorry it was such a crap night! They definitely dropped the ball.

  8. Gary, to be fair I think the parking/access was all that I could say was truly disorganised. The rest was simply way below expectations. The guy I spoke to said the reason for the high price of entrance was because of the cost of the entertainers, in which case I'd say the entertainment just wasn't worth the price.

    Yeah, I'm getting used to using American phrases, but that doesn't stop me from causing confusion on a regular basis when I use a word or phrase unique to the other side of the pond. It's amazing how much of a one-way street the cultural transfer is. Most Brits will know what Americans mean when they talk of line-ups, and sidewalks, and crosswalks, but that awareness doesn't seem to go much the other way.

    Sam, yeah, I think if we'd been well-fed we'd have tolerated a lot more. We might have even put up with the wait for the train ride if we hadn't been in such a hurry to get home and eat something more substantial that didn't cost an arm and a leg!


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