by: Scott Lockwood Staff Writer, East County Observer

One of the Lakewood Ranch traditions during the Halloween season is seeing the Headless Horseman ride again.

A crowd of more than 150 people were treated to the tradition Oct. 23 when they watched the Players Centre for Performing Arts’ fifth-annual performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the Sarasota Polo Club.

Lakewood Ranch resident Carole Butera invited Patti Karabatsos and Margot McDaniels to the show. McDaniels said she had heard of the Headless Horseman but was looking forward to the rest of the show as well.

“I’ve been here for the polo matches and the farmers market a couple of times, but never for a show,” Butera said.

Jenni Ross brought her children Smith Ross (age 2) and Aubrie Ross (6 months) for their first show. Ross said it was nice to be able to attend performances like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” while Smith munched on a snack and Aubrie smiled in her mother’s arms.

The Ross children were able to get a photo and visit with the Headless Horseman after the performance.

“It’s so nice to live right here and have all this,” Jenni Ross said. “I was thinking as we walked in how nice it is that we have all these family events we can come to right in our backyard.”

Boden and Cooper Colon of Lakewood Ranch were all smiles after the show — especially after getting to strike a pose with the Woman in White (Abigail Clark) who spent the show haunting lead character Ichabod Crane (Philip Troyer).

“She was my favorite,” Cooper Colon said. “The Headless Horseman was spooky.”

“This was just wonderful and it’s nice to be able to interact with characters and the Headless Horseman,” Cheryl Colon said. “There’s no better place to be than the Polo Grounds.”

Jeffery Kin, the artistic director of The Players Centre for Performing Arts, which put on the show, said the performance went well.

“After five years we’ve got people who come back year after year,” he said. “We change and modify the show. We change the cast size, casting and we’ve rewritten the script a number of times. Every year it’s something different and something new, but it always ends with the great, scary part at the very end. We never want to give it away, but it’s all about the horse.”