Milton Theatre’s Zombie Fest will be creeping its way south to Dewey Beach.
The annual festival, expected to take place in downtown Milton until disputes with town officials caused its cancelation this year, will be held at Northbeach and the Bottle & Cork, Saturday, Oct. 19.
The theater has teamed up with Highway One Companies to put on the event, which will kick off at 4 p.m. at Northbeach.
Milton Theatre Marketing Director J.P. Lacap said Northbeach will host the kids’ events, such as face painting, costume contest and the kids’ Zombie Zone. In addition, Northbeach will host live music from Lower Case Blues, Indian River Band, Kategory 5 and more, as well as the Zombie Car Contest. At 8 p.m. will be the Zombie Walk from Northbeach to the Bottle & Cork where the party will go until 11 p.m. Lacap said events at the Bottle & Cork are only for those 21 and over. Zombie Fest will be free to children 12 and under, and $10 for everyone else.
For its first five years, Zombie Fest had been held at the Milton Historical Society lot at Union and Magnolia streets. But flooding problems made it impossible for the lot to support the event this year, so theater officials planned to turn Zombie Fest into a free street festival.
Theatre Director Fred Munzert said the event ran into limitations he said were imposed by the town, including the location of the stage, and the number of vendors and food trucks. Lacap said the free event would cost $20,000 to put on. In July, town council unanimously voted to allow Zombie Fest to close Union Street from 5 to 10 p.m. and to have four food trucks, which theater officials said was half the number of food trucks from the year prior; vendors were cut out entirely.
Although they later said after the town’s approvals that they did not think the event would work under those circumstances, the theater pressed on with advertising because Munzert and Lacap said they believed they could make it work. Lacap said after Zombie Fest’s cancellation, the theater was approached by 11 towns and organizations to host the event. He said Dewey made a lot of sense because it did not require a lot of organization to pull off and had the facilities to accommodate all the events. Lacap said proceeds from the event will benefit the same nonprofits as before: Milton Theatre, Milton Fire Department, Milton library and Milton Community Food Pantry.
Other than the venue, Lacap said, very little about the festival will be different, and it will not be as big as what was originally planned for Milton this year. In its first five years, Zombie Fest was $10 to get into, but Lacap said when the theater couldn’t use the historical society property, the plan was changed for the event to be free. Now that the event is on private property again, the admission charge was reinstated.
Highway One Companies owner Alex Pires said, “It was a no-brainer for our company to partner with one of the area’s most dynamic arts organizations to keep this tradition alive. We hope to raise significant monies to support Milton Theatre’s capital campaign.”
As for whether the event will be held in Dewey in the future, Lacap said the theater is not looking beyond this year and he would like to try to hold the festival in Milton again next year.
Milton Mayor Ted Kanakos did not respond for comment.
Maryellen Kiernan, events and marketing director of Irish Eyes said, “We are very disappointed that the Zombie Fest is moving to Dewey. It was a cool event that brought so many people to Milton. Our business will most definitely be affected by this change in venue. We would love to see it return to Milton next year.”
For more information on tickets and events, go to www.miltontheatre.com.