Swansboro Manor: Haunt gets bigger and better
by Sarah Fay Campbell
At Swansbrough Manor, the residents - and their neighbors - have been busy getting the place ready for the biggest night of the year.
Steve and Dawn Swansbrough and daughters Jessica and Erica, along with other family members and neighbors, have been busy turning their home in the Barrington Farms neighborhood off Andrew Bailey Road in east Coweta into 'Swansbrough Manor,' complete with multiple pirate ships, an expansive graveyard, animatronics, and plenty of pirates and spooks.
They've been working on it for almost two months, and now both Steve and Dawn are taking vacation in order to have time for the finishing touches. 'We have to take either the whole week or at least several days' off from work, said Steve.
The Swansbroughs started small in 2006, but the displays keep getting bigger.
'I still can't believe this started with a couple of blowups,' said Jessica, 12.
There are a few new things every year. This year, the main pirate ship has been expanded by 12 feet. There are also some new props in the graveyard.
Each year, the Swansbroughs go Halloween shopping early - as early as they can. They typically hit the seasonal stores the first weekend they are open. 'We buy out all the really cool stuff,' said Steve.
Decor superstore Garden Ridge is their go-to place for skeletons. Sometimes they get weird looks while wheeling carts crammed with skeletons through the store in the middle of summer.
As Swansbrough Manor has grown, so has the need for storage space. In the beginning, they crammed everything in the basement. 'It got to the point where the basement was full and there still wasn't enough room,' Steve said. So, two years ago, they built a twostory storage shed. The rollup door opening is a foot taller than a standard door so that the horse-drawn-style hearse that Steve built will fit. That doesn't mean there's any room in the basement for non-Halloween related stuff, however. The show continues tonight, Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. at 255 Barrington Grange Drive.
The neighborhood is located across from the Andrew Bailey ballpark. Everything is free, but donations are welcome, and all proceeds support the art and music programs at Thomas Crossroads Elementary, where Dawn is an art teacher.
Dawn Swansbrough touches up the teeth of the largest pirate ship at Swansbrough Manor. The teeth always need touching up after a year in storage.
Family and neighbors help out getting things ready at Swansbrough Manor. Pictured are, left to right, Jody Thompson, Ray Swansbrough, Steve Swansbrough, Jessica Swansbrough, Bill, Joanne and Brittini Tuckey, Dawn Swansbrough and Erica Swansbrough. Not pictured are neighbors Danielle and Rob Thorne.