Zombies will walk in Milton a little longer this year after Milton Town Council unanimously approved closing Union Street from 5 until 10 p.m. and allowing four food trucks on the street for this year’s Zombie Fest.
While approval was unanimous, it was given somewhat begrudgingly.
Zombie Fest, sponsored by the Milton Theatre to benefit its Calliope Project, has been a successful event the past four years, the highlight being the Zombie Walk, where zombies make their way down Union Street from Magnolia to Federal Street.
In previous years, Union Street has closed from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. But this year, the theater asked for a five-hour road closure.
Town Manager Kristy Rogers said the event runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will include four food trucks parked in the parking spaces in front of the theatre. Council had no problem with that request.
But a request for an additional 90-minute closure on Union Street, met with resistance, primarily from Councilman Emory West and Mayor Ted Kanakos.
“I personally don’t like the street closed down. That’s our main artery that goes through town,” Kanakos said.
Police Chief Robert Longo said he was not worried about the extended hours and the department will do whatever is needed. Kanakos was placated by Longo saying that the event has not caused any problems related to alcohol or unruliness.
Councilman Kevin Kelly, the biggest defender of the request, said the only significant difference was the food trucks, which before had been located on the vacant lot next to the Lydia B. Cannon Museum.
“These are the same conditions that have existed for the past several years,” Kelly said. “None of this is new. The duration of time is longer, but none of the rest of it is new.”
Councilman Sam Garde asked if Delaware Department of Transportation has approved the closure. Rogers said DelDOT has verbally approved the closure, but nothing has been provided in writing.
West said he welcomed the festival, but remained concerned about closing the street longer.
“I don’t feel they should have the street closed five hours,” he said. “I’ll go 6 to 9:30 but not the full five hours.”
Kelly and West then went back and forth arguing their points, with Kelly noting the route is the same for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the Christmas parade. West said he did not think the street should be closed that long.
When Kanakos eventually called for the vote, West relented and reluctantly voted in favor. Kelly said if the extended time becomes a problem, he is willing to revisit the issue next year.
Representatives of the theater were not present at the July 1 council meeting. John Paul Lecap, spokesman for the theater, said plans are still being finalized for the festival and will be announced soon.