It may have been a different location, but Milton Theatre’s annual Zombie Fest delivered the same carnival-like atmosphere punctuated by various forms of the undead.
The festival, held at Northbeach in Dewey Beach, featured music, costume contests, bounce houses, face painting and assorted entertainers. The main attraction was the crowd itself, many in costume as zombies.
The early events at Northbeach were geared toward the kids, who had a costume contest of their own. As the night wore on, the adults took over, and at 8 p.m., the crowd witnessed the Zombie Walk, as grisly ghouls slowly made their way to the Bottle & Cork for the afterparty.
Holding Zombie Fest in Dewey was a controversial move that occurred when festival organizers and Milton officials could not work out logistics for the event. During a one-month span starting in late August, theater officials first cancelled the festival, then announced it was coming back and then moved it to Dewey. Although the event moved to Dewey, proceeds from the event went to Milton-based nonprofits.
Milton Theatre Director of Marketing JP Lacap said, “We had a record presale this year. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.”
Lacap said the theater sold 493 tickets at its presale, with sales the day of the event still being counted.
He said Dewey was selected because it already had infrastructure in place to host the event, with very little area fenced off and parking available all around town.
“We kind of did it on the fly. We didn’t expect the bouncy houses to be so big. It was a bit of a puzzle, Tetris-like thing to figure out but we made it all work,” Lacap said.
He said not much changed this year as far as the events.
“All of the elements that were supposed to be with Zombie Fest are still here. It’s literally just the layout that is different,” Lacap said.
Among the audience, opinions varied as far as whether they preferred this version of Zombie Fest or the prior version in downtown Milton.
Janet Murphy of Pennsylvania and Kenny Johnson of Maryland preferred the event as it was in Milton as opposed to Dewey.
“It’s a different atmosphere. Before, it had more of a small-town feel. The atmosphere was better in Milton,” Murphy said.
On the other hand, John Doerfler of Milton said, “It’s great. It’s fun that it’s a kid-friendly event in Dewey Beach. They did a great job with the ambience. Kids can have fun and enjoy it. They hit it out of the park.”