All Sections
Welcome guest, you have 3 views left.  Register| Sign In

Home | Scene in Manchester

Scene in Manchester: The zombies are coming

Special to The New Hampshire Union Leader

October 21. 2012 9:02PM

It was my husband's birthday yesterday, so I had him chased through the woods by zombies. It's the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it? OK, they weren't real zombies. I signed him up for the Rails to Entrails Zombie Survival 5K, a fundraiser in New Boston Sunday to raise money for the Rail Trail. He got to run through the woods and through obstacles while being chased by people dressed as zombies.

I don't understand it, but zombies are really popular right now. My husband just loves them, which is comforting, because I look and sound just like one before I have my coffee in the morning, and sometimes after.

If you love zombies, then head downtown this Saturday. Intown Manchester is hosting its first-ever Manch Vegas Zombie Walk. At 1 p.m. people dressed as the undead will emerge from the Brady Sullivan Plaza, at 1000 Elm St., and basically freak people out as they make their way down to Milly's Tavern on Commercial Street.

I love how the official Intown news release reads. 'During the Walk, all participants are encouraged to remain in character as zombies, lurching, shambling, dragging limbs and communicating only in a zombie-like manner (such as grunting, groaning, moaning and slurred calls for 'brains').

Sara Beaudry, Intown's director of marketing and public relations, said Intown was inspired to do the zombie event by downtown business owner Dan Villafranca of the self-serve wine bar Vino Aromas. According to Beaudry, Villafranca has attended several zombie walks around the country. (And there goes the wine snob stereotype I had all picked out for Villafranca.)

While this is a first zombie walk for Intown, you may have seen zombies downtown in the past. Those zombies were part of events organized by Zombie Attack: Manchester. Beaudry said that group has been very helpful getting the word out to its zombies about joining forces with Intown's zombies.

Beaudry said she has no idea how many zombies to expect, but Intown has received many calls from various groups who plan to attend. All ages are invited, but keep in mind that some children may be scared by the gruesome makeup.

The Manch Vegas Zombie Walk is free and no registration is required, but participants are asked to bring a canned good for New Horizons. You can also pay to have your zombie makeup done prior to the walk. If it's really good, you may want to head over to Double Midnight Comics after to compete in the zombie beauty contest being held as part of the store's Halloweenfest that day. I told you, zombies are hot right now.

I've just recently seen my first, and probably last, episode of 'The Walking Dead,' the AMC show based on a group of people trying to survive in a zombie-filled world. The only thing I learned is that zombies are scary. And they stop at nothing to eat your brains. Actually, they'll eat any part of you. Beaudry promises that non-zombies have nothing to fear if they venture downtown Saturday. But, people who think there may be some actual zombies mixed in there with the fake ones can purchase a Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit from PHI eManagement Solutions. The Newmarket company will be on-hand selling the kits. Seriously. But, I won't need one because I'll be far away. Like I said, zombies are scary.

Creative writing comes to NHIA

I got a mini creative writing class at the New Hampshire Institute of Arts and Sciences last Monday. Creative writing teacher Jenn Monroe led me and several other community members, including my pals Marcia and Mark Burns, in a typical freshman creative writing exercise that required us to write continuously for three minutes without stopping or crossing out mistakes. It was a long three minutes, but I was satisfied with my work and disappointed when we weren't asked to read them aloud. (I wasn't named Central Class of 1995 Class Brown Noser for nothing.)

The exercise was a lot of fun and really helped me understand how Monroe gets her students' creative juices flowing. She is one of several new creative writing faculty at NHIA. She, colleagues Dr. Monica Bilson and Tim Horvath, and about 100 students came over from Chester College after that school closed earlier this year. Monday night's gathering was organized by NHIA trustee Skip Ashooh so community members could meet the new teachers and learn about the school's new creative writing program and other changes at the school.

Today, Manchester's downtown wouldn't be the same without the hundreds of young art students making their way to and from class. They are the ones sporting giant black portfolios and interesting hair colors. Ashooh said there's an obvious cultural impact made by the hundreds of art students living downtown, but probably a financial impact too.

I'm certainly glad they're around to make our city a little more interesting, and I'm looking forward to attending the school's Art and Soul Benefit Auction with my mom next week. We thought it was this past Thursday, but when we got to NHIA's French Hall and the room was empty, we looked at our tickets and realized we were a week early. Oh well. We headed over to the YMCA Caught Red Handed Wine Tasting and Benefit Auction instead and had a great time.

Help out Habitat for Humanity

I knew the Queen City had a lot of nonprofit groups, but I was not aware Habitat for Humanity was one of them until my sister-in-law Jess McQuaid began volunteering for them recently. The Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In that time, volunteers have built or rebuilt six houses and helped homeowners with about a dozen smaller projects. The volunteers are working every Saturday on a three-family home on Holsey Street in Manchester that was damaged by fire.

I was also surprised to learn Habitat for Humanity is not a home giveaway program like 'Extreme Home Makeover.' Rather, the eventual homeowners invest hundreds of hours helping to build their home alongside volunteers. They also have to come up with a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. But, Habitat houses are affordable because they are sold to families in need at no profit. The money paid by the homeowners goes to help fund other Habitat for Humanity projects. A quote at the top of sums it up. 'Offering a hand up, not a hand-out.'

If you think you would like to get involved with Habitat for Humanity you can attend an informal Volunteer Open House this Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and see if it's the right fit for you. And you don't need to know how to swing a hammer or install plumbing to be the right fit. All kinds of skills are needed to keep the organization going, including event planning, graphic design, financial know how, public speaking, sales, fundraising and more.

The open house will be at the Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity offices on the fourth floor of the Waumbec Mill, 250 Commercial St. Events of the Week

It is the week before Halloween. There are too many Halloween and harvest-themed events on to pick just one. Until you can visit the website and see for yourself, here's a sample: A Family Fun Fall Festival will be held at Brookside Church Saturday from 3 to 8:30 p.m., the Manchester City Library will host its annual Children's Cemetery Scavenger Hunt from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and the Manchester Community Music School's Spooktacular Halloween Concert is Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.

If you have an interesting item for Scene in Manchester, email it to

Column Manchester

Newsletter Signup