After being away from Milton for nearly three years, Zombie Fest is set to return to downtown starting at 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16.
The festival is being billed as a homecoming, and for Milton Theatre Director Fred Munzert and Marketing Director J.P. Lacap, being back in Milton – after 2019’s festival was held in Dewey Beach and last year’s was canceled due to COVID-19 – is as sweet as it gets.
“It’s good in every way,” Munzert said. “Last year was supposed to be Zombie’s first year back. It’s exciting to be back. People look forward to it. We look forward to it. The staff look forward to it.”
“A lot of people are excited for it to be back in Milton. People have a sense of ownership about it,” Lacap said.
This year, the entire festival will take place on Milton Theatre grounds, with performances and events both inside and outside the theater. The event will close with the Zombie Walk, in which children and adults dressed in their best zombie garb will make their way down Union Street.
Munzert said there will be four bands on the outdoor Quayside Stage and four acts on the theater’s indoor stage. He said the performances will overlap with one another so people can move in and out.
He said inside the theater will be more kid-oriented events, including performances by longtime favorites Pirates Plunder, who will have their own stage show in addition to roaming around outdoors. Lacap said the plan is to have a kids’ version of Zombie Fest, which started with the 2019 edition, that includes bouncy houses, face painting and a costume contest.
Munzert said the kids’ festival and a Vendor Alley will be at the Milton Theatre House at 102 Union St., one door down from the theater. He said other new features will be roaming performances by Pirates Plunder and a freak show complete with sword swallowers, fire eaters, jugglers, magic and minor stunts.
“Like a mini-Cirque du Soleil,” Lacap said.
“The last time we did it, we just had this property. Now we have so much outdoor space and multiple areas we can put people in,” Munzert said.
Zombie Fest moved to Northbeach in Dewey Beach in 2019 after disputes with town officials over event logistics. While there was some concern that once the festival left, it wouldn’t come back, Munzert and Lacap said that was not the case, and the intention was always to come back to Milton.
“We loved doing it in Dewey. Everyone there was so good to us. Highway One was very generous,” Munzert said. “It was a business decision for us. We had already invested a lot of effort and money; I think it worked well. Outside of that, it was always intended to be here.”
With the festival’s return, other local businesses will also hold their own promotions to coincide with Zombie Fest. Munzert said that includes Broadkill Tattoo Company offering zombie-themed tattoos over two days.
While walking the areas around Zombie Fest and taking part in the Zombie Walk are free, entering the gates either inside or outside the theater will require a $10 ticket, available at the door. All events are free to children and students. Munzert and Lacap said they also plan to donate part of the proceeds from ticket sales to Milton Fire Department and Milton Community Food Pantry.
For information on registration and ticket sales, visit miltontheatre.com.