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September 25, 2013

Utica Zombie Fest sure to be a scream

A ghoulish horde is set to invade historic downtown venues for freaky fun

By Sarah Wojcik
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
A horde of “zombified” festival-goers overtakes the streets of historic downtown Utica on its way to the haunted house during the city’s first Zombie Fest Oct. 13, 2012.

UTICA — Moaning, staggering, bloodthirsty zombies will overtake Utica’s historic downtown district Oct. 5. The city’s second annual Zombie Fest is adding new events to its established line-up that aim to highlight businesses and offer undead fun.

John Sattmann, owner of Hogs Hollow Smokehouse and a Utica Downtown Development Authority member, helped launch the event last year with Phil and Kim Stone, owners of the Pop! Caffeine, Comics and Gaming business.

Sattmann said that this year, the event is sure to grow with the sponsorship of the Utica DDA, Utica Lions Club and the Utica Parks and Recreation Department.

“I’d say we had about 250 (people) dressed up (last year),” he said. “We put it together pretty late, so it was amazing how many people showed up. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and I think everybody enjoyed themselves.”

The day kicks off at 9 a.m. in the Utica Public Library parking lot, located at 7530 Auburn Road, with registration for the new $10 Zombie Fun Run and the free nighttime zombie walk, plus Paul Mitchell the School doing “zombification” makeup for a $5 donation.

At 11 a.m., the Zombie Fun Run will shamble through downtown Utica.

The event is $10 per person, and applicants can register early at Hogs Hollow Smokehouse or www.hogshollowsmokehouse.com.

Sattman said he is most looking forward to the new zombie run, a mile-long course beginning at Sinister Haunted House in the Lions Club parking lot, going over the bridge to Memorial Park and through the tunnel.

“We’re doing it in front of the haunted house, and those guys pretty much are maniacs,” he said. “They’ll start up the chainsaws.”

Zombie Crawl wristbands will be available for a $5 donation and allow patrons to get 20 percent discounts at the Hogs Hollow Smokehouse, Muldoon’s, Hatchy’s, Zap Zone, as well as on VIP tickets for Sinister Haunted House.

From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the American Red Cross will conduct a blood drive at the Utica Fire Department, located at 7609 Auburn Road. Appointments can be scheduled online at www.utica-events.com.

At 3 p.m., local businesses along Auburn Road and Cass Avenue will pass out candy for young zombie trick-or-treaters.

From 4-6:45 p.m., popular events from last year’s Zombie Fest will return: a zombie fashion show at Muldoon’s, a zombie entrails-eating contest at Hogs Hollow Smokehouse and zombie trivia at Hatchy’s.

At 7 p.m., the giant zombie walk will kick off from Pop! Caffeine, Comics and Gaming, located at 45163 Cass Ave., and will end at Sinister Haunted House in the Lions Club parking lot.

“(Zombie Fest) will draw Utica (residents) into Memorial Park, make them aware of our wonderful library and our businesses, and enter our establishments for food and drink, and finish their day at the haunted house,” said Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan.

Donations for the zombification makeup will benefit the Hydrocephalus Foundation, and wristband donations will benefit the Utica Lions Club, Hydrocephalus Foundation and the Utica Parks and Recreation Department.

For an event schedule or more information about Utica’s Zombie Fest, visit www.utica-events.com. Sattmann said he is still in search of volunteers to help with the Zombie Fun Run. To volunteer, go to www.utica-events.com, select “Zombie Fest” and then “Volunteer for the Zombie Fest.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at swojcik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.