Rochester’s Zombie Pub Crawl staggers back into local bars and restaurants Saturday. The ghastly get-together starts at Charlie’s Eatery & Pub at 1, and takes over downtown all evening and into the morning! Three years in, organizer Nic Jeno gave us some background info on Rochester’s most blood-curdling bar crawl.
Zombie prom? Rochester’s first Zombie Pub Crawl, held in 2010, was a walk through downtown -- and it was completely kid-friendly. The night ended with live music at the Rochester Eagles Club and a “zombie-type prom,” Jeno said. That run of the pub crawl added some bars and continued for a few years… then sank into the ground after attendance and sponsorship waned. In 2017, it returned, organized by a tiny group of undead afficionados (led by Jeno).
200, 400… In its first year back, Jeno says the Zombie Pub Crawl attracted around 200 shamblers. Last year, there were 425. And the 2019 event is gearing up to be the largest ever, with 13 bars involved and prizes from previous sponsors like Blazed Marketing, Skinlab Tattoo and Piercing, Schott Distributing Company and Ragstock (and new ones like Taco Jed and Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria), Jeno says. He estimated that more than 500 zombies could show their (heavily made-up) faces over the course of the evening.
New bars! New bars! Little Thistle, Cameo at the Castle, R Bar (formerly Fusion Lounge), LTS Brewing Co., and Bleu Duck Kitchen joined the crawl this year. See the full schedule for the rest!
How do I get those prizes? Register ahead of time on Eventbrite -- it’s free! -- to get a special zombie wristband, which you need in order to enter competitions. You can pick those up at the Zombie Masters table. For the judging, Jeno says bar staff and organizers choose winners based on different criteria at each bar (like “Goriest Zombie,” “Best Couple,” “Oldest Zombie We See”) -- and yes, they pick new winners each time! This year, you could also win a random door prize, so stick around!
Buy these folks a drink! The whole event is organized by a three- to five-member board. That’s right. In previous years, the volunteer organizers have put their own money into buying prizes, and tons of time into securing sponsors and advertising. So definitely say thanks! “For me, the Rochester Zombie Pub Crawl is more than just a bunch of people getting zombiefied and getting wasted -- it's about bringing the community together to do something fun and exciting and not being deprived of the arts and events other cities are offered,” Jeno says. “I love Halloween … and I believe it should be treated more like a celebration of individuality and community engagement.”