The first ever Zombifest Horror Music Festival will take place Saturday in Cape Coral.
The event, being held in conjunction with the first ever Zombie Crawl, runs from 6-11 p.m. along Southeast 11th Place, adjacent to the Dixie Roadhouse. The festival will feature a handful of national performers, along with exotic sideshow acts and a costume contest, where prizes will be awarded.
"Cape Coral has never had anything like this before," event organizer Ragen St. Peter said.
He noted that there is no big event hosted in the city to celebrate Halloween.
"We're trying to do something here that will put Cape Coral on the map and bring some cool things through," St. Peter said.
Plans for the festival began in February when it appeared that the annual ZombieCon event in downtown Fort Myers was not going to take place. St. Peter had initially planned for the festival to be held at the Harborside Event Center, but the plans did not work and he looked at other options.
"Dixie Roadhouse wanted it there. A lot of people in the city wanted it there," he said.
So, the Halloween extravaganza was relocated across the river.
The headliner for the night is Mushroomhead, which takes the stage at 9:30 p.m.
"That's one of those bands that if you're not even into the music, their stage show is second to none," St. Peter said. "They're in full costume masks."
He called them "the Halloween band."
"This is who you want to see," St. Peter said.
Also scheduled to perform are XFactor1 at 6:15 p.m. and Ionia at 7 p.m. One Eyed Doll, a rock duo from Austin, Texas, will take the stage at about 8 p.m.
"Those are all national acts that are going to be playing," he said.
Kicking off the festivities at 6 p.m. is Professor Grimm, a local Halloween horror act.
"We've got all kinds of side shows - flame throwers, sword swallowers," St. Peter said.
Emceeing the event is Dr. Blasphemy.
"He is hilarious. People really like him," he said.
The costume contest will cover the best getups in the categories of zombie, sexy, celebrity, creepy and funny, as well as best "Walking Dead" cast lookalike. The winners receive custom-made trophies.
"The best overall costume is going to get a custom Zombifest guitar made by Scream Guitars," St. Peter said, adding that the electric guitar will be signed by all the bands playing at the festival.
The second place overall winner will receive a barbecue grill from Jagermeister.
The cost of admission is $10 per person; ages 10 and under are free.
"The block party itself, for people to come down and hang out- its free," he said.
Also on Saturday, the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Associations are putting on in inaugural Zombie Crawl. The free pub crawl, which runs from 5 to 11 p.m., includes 12 bars and restaurants in the downtown Cape. Each participating venue will offer $2.50 speciality drinks using Jagermeister.
"We put on the crawl to bring something down to Cape Coral for Halloween," Shelly LaPaglia, a member of the associations and the owner of BackStreets Sports Bar, said.
Participants can pick up a passport at any of the venues.
"You bring the card with you to the bars," she said, adding that the bars will stamp the card.
At the end, participants can turn in their passport and be eligible for a prize drawing.
"You can win a Jagermeister barbecue grill or George Romero Living Dead trilogy," LaPaglia said.
Gift certificates to local businesses will also be awarded.
"You can check out 12 different local bars, you get a great drink special and you get to keep it in the Cape," she said.
Other downtown businesses will offer deals on Saturday as part of the festivities.
From 7 a.m. to noon, Origins Coffee will have a buy one, get one half off on its Spooky Latte.
From noon to 5 p.m., the Salon at Club Square will offer $10 off any service, Vapin Apes' will have "Demon Seaman" liquid for $4 and Fish Tale Grill will offer Spooky Sesame Tuna for $11.99.
"We are just trying to get them involved, in general," LaPaglia said. "We want the South Cape to thrive, and the South Cape is not just bars and restaurants."