The Boardwalk
500 Boardwalk Lane

Located on the shores of the Mesqotonic River, the Boardwalk is an homage to the golden days of Coney Island, carnivals and (of course) boardwalks everywhere. The whole of the long, massive block is filled with a maze of rides, games, shows and concessions stalls that recall happier, simpler days, or at least the whitewashed version many people would prefer to remember. There's a tall, grand old Ferris wheel, an ornate old merry-go-round containing a whole menagerie of animals, a rickety wooden roller coaster, a classic funhouse, a haunted house ride and even a Tunnel of Love. Large tents offer magic shows, fire eaters, sword swallowers, strange creatures held in brine and other such sideshow attractions, though these are somewhat more politically correct than they would have been in ages past. There are games of skill and chance where the enterprising fairgoer can win their date a prize, and stalls offering everything from ice cream to fried dough to funnel cakes.

The Boardwalk is open every year from April to the very beginning of November, from 9 am to 10 or 11 pm, and tickets are sold for a dollar apiece, with each attraction requiring a different number of tickets based on its maintenance costs and popularity. The ticket booth also sells a combo pass for around twenty-five dollars that offers admission to many of the rides as well as the Boardwalk's popular magic show and exhibition of strange creatures. In addition, the Boardwalk hosts a massive festival every year in the week leading up to Halloween; some of the less popular rides are replaced with seasonal haunted houses, storytellers and costumed characters abound, a giant screen showing classic Halloween specials (from 7:30 pm to 9 pm each night) and horror movies (9 pm to 12 am) is erected at the center of the lot, the entire park is redecorated, the whole place remains open until just a little past the "witching hour" and there are a number of activities designed for fairgoers of all day. The tickets for this festival cost twenty dollars apiece, offering one night's admission to each ticket holder.

This being Shadowgard, of course, even the most relatively innocuous, playful spot in town has to have its own dark history; the Boardwalk is no exception. Every year, the park seems to lose a few of its guests; while actual deaths on property are fairly rare, more than a few fairgoers have entered the park and vanished without a trace, never to be seen again. There are those who say that the Boardwalk's owners are actually running something very like Pleasure Island from the story of Pinocchio, perhaps taking a certain number of guests each year and selling them as slaves, or perhaps twisting them into new and strange beings...maybe even creatures like those on display in the sideshow. There are also tales of hauntings and curses upon certain buildings; indeed, a high number of the missing were last seen in the vicinity of the haunted house, leading some to speculate that the attraction contains more than mechanical ghosts and ghouls. And some of the stories are only too real; for example, the perpetual carnival was in fact home to a murderous magician back in the 1970s, an illusionist who had the grim habit of stealing the house keys right off his audience volunteers, going to their homes after the park had closed to slaughter them in bizzarely ritualistic fashion. And for the period from 1948 to 1963, the Boardwalk simply could not keep a clown -- everyone hired to fill that position ended up committing suicide within a year of their hiring, and this grisly streak was only broken when rumors of a curse spread, leaving the position unfilled until 1967, by which time the phenomenon had apparently ceased. These two tales can be verified quite easily through the use of the town archives; in 1962, the Shadowgard Beacon even did a story on the ill fortune of the Boardwalk's clowns. As for the involvement of supernatural forces -- the truth may never be known.