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Signs of life: Dead invade Youngstown

Dead invade Youngstown

There was a time when downtown Youngstown was considered dead.

This weekend the swarm of zombies filling area bars and restaurants on Saturday will be a sign of its livelihood.

The 10th annual Youngstown Zombie Crawl will attract costumed revelers who will lurch across the downtown bridge, perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance and visit local businesses.

Catherine Fetter, director of operations for the B&O Station, said, “Events like this are essential for the continued growth of the downtown area and its revitalization. Anything that brings potential new visitors is essential for all of us to continue growing.”

This year there will be 14 stops on the crawl — Youngstown Maennerchor, Draught House, Imbibe, Ryes, O’Donolds, Rhine Haus Bier Hall, The Federal, V2, Whistle and Keg, Avalon, Suzie’s, Kitchen Post, Royal Oaks and B&O Station.

It’s not just the downtown bars working together. Youngstown-based Penguin City Beer created a special brew for the event called John Young’s Apple Ale. In addition to referencing Youngstown’s namesake, the brew — described as a slightly tart ale with flavors of apples, oranges, melon and a faint spicy zing, and an ABV of 4.5 percent — incorporates fresh pressed cider from White House Fruit Farm and has a label created by the Youngstown Clothing Co.

The beer will be available exclusively at participating Zombie Crawl locations and bottles will be sold at B&O Station on Saturday, Fetter said.

Registration for the crawl starts at noon. Participants can do their own makeup or use the makeup artists on site available to turn mere humans into the undead.

The Youngstown Thrill the World group will perform the moves from Jackson’s “Thriller” video at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s so much fun watching a huge group of individuals decked out as zombies dancing the ‘Thriller’ dance,” Fetter said. “They’ll pop at participating bars or in front of them and continue to dance throughout the night.”

Businesses will have food and drinks specials with many decorated for Halloween. For those who don’t want to slowly lurch from bar to bar, a shuttle service will be available 8 p.m. to midnight, and the first 100 participants to complete the crawl will receive a free event T-shirt created by the Youngstown Clothing Co.

Fetter said she is hoping for about 1,500 crawlers this year, but weather is the primary factor with the crowd size.

Also returning on Saturday is The Red Masquerade, an immersive theater experience at B&O Station featuring actors from Rust Belt Theater Company.

Described as part Halloween dance party and part murder mystery, attendees are encouraged to wear red and interact with the costumed performers in order to solve a mystery, survive the night and win prizes, including gift certificates, theater tickets, local artwork and jewelry.

This year’s event is staged in collaboration with Opera Western Reserve in conjunction with its Nov. 15 production of “Macbeth.” Proceeds from the event will benefit the Rust Belt Theater Company and the Robert Arroyo Medical Fund.

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