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September 19, 2012

Bavarians, zombies to invade Utica

Downtown Utica welcomes fall with seasonal celebrations

By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer

UTICA — While spring is greeted with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in downtown Utica, local businesses are hoping to start Oktoberfest traditions this fall.

When John Sattmann and Norman Heinrich, who own the Cass Bar and Grill and Muldoon’s Tavern in downtown Utica, respectively, received unanimous approval from City Council Sept. 11 for tents outside their establishments, the Oktoberfest celebrations Sept. 28-30 were officially on.

“We’re both German,” Sattmann quipped with members of council about the reason he and Heinrich wanted to host an Oktoberfest event with live music and authentic German food.

The Oktoberfest kicks off several seasonal activities in Utica’s historic downtown, along Auburn Road and Cass Avenue.

The events cross from festive to frightening Oct. 13 as Pop! Caffeine, Comics and Gaming looks to fill its store and the streets of downtown Utica with the undead.

The zombie event features a “zombie-fying” booth at Pop! to transform any living participants into the undead, so they can take part in an American Red Cross fundraiser by either giving blood or “taking a bite out of Utica.”

The “taking a bite out of Utica” portion of the event is similar to a pub crawl through downtown Utica, where “zombie wranglers” direct the masses to special seating areas at local restaurants to feast on specials, rather than human flesh.

The ghoulish gatherings continue with Halloween parties from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Oct. 27 at Muldoon’s and the Cass Bar and Grill.

If Halloween revelers desire a fright beyond the Zombie Crawl or Halloween parties, the Utica Lions Club is sponsoring a haunted house near the city’s Department of Public Works at 7001 Moscone Drive.

The house will feature a pumpkin patch, as well as cider, doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate for sale. Proceeds from the 3,264 square-foot haunted house will go to the Lions Club and its charitable efforts.

The attraction is slated to open Sept. 28 and will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October 31.

“I’ve been wanting to have one for a number of years and just couldn’t get a green light,” Lions Club President Jerry Noonan said of the haunted house.

“Well see what happens. I think, if we have it this year and it works good, maybe we’ll do something bigger next year.”

Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan said the efforts of the Lions Club and downtown businesses will ensure that this is a fall unlike any other in downtown Utica.

“We are very pleased that private businesses and the service club have arranged and scheduled things according to all the rules,” Noonan said.

“More people will be visiting downtown now — more than ever before in September and October.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brad D. Bates at bbates@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.