Get your freak on

Costumed partygoers invade Oregon District for Annual Hauntfest on Fifth

by Tim Anderl

Some of the costumes on display by patrons at 2010's Hauntfest on Fifth.

Some of the costumes on display by patrons at 2010's Hauntfest on Fifth.

Thousands of sexy and spooky partygoers will converge on downtown Dayton to celebrate all that goes bump in the night at the annual Hauntfest on Fifth celebration. In its 26th year, Hauntfest on Fifth takes place in Dayton’s Oregon District on East Fifth Street beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 and running until Oct. 30 at 1 a.m. Formerly known as the “Boo & Brew,” the infamous Halloween party features a variety of entertainment, food and drinks.

Taking their cues from the godfathers of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem, Dayton’s Back Stabbath will perform four sets on a stage located in the EPA parking lot across from Sidebar at the annual gathering.

“I remember the first time I heard Black Sabbath. I was in seventh grade and a friend put the record on his old Pioneer stereo and when ‘Iron Man’ came out of those big speakers I was completely blown away,” Back Stabbath guitarist Evan Davell said. “So, when John Gassett (Back Stabbath’s singer) approached me about starting a cover band the choice was obvious.”

According to Davell, Back Stabbath play songs from the band’s early Ozzy Osbourne-era back catalog, including cuts from Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Volume 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage.

“I haven’t decided if I’ll dress like Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath’s guitarist) yet,” Davell said.

Football fans not wanting to miss Ohio State’s Buckeyes going head to head with the University of Wisconsin Badgers will be able to catch the matchup’s action on a big-screen television broadcasting the game in the Clear Channel parking lot off of Pine Street. The game starts at 8 p.m., local time.

Other death-defying matchups will take place during the Third Annual Boo & Bruise pro wrestling contest. Wrestlers will compete all evening for the chance to become the first ever Cicero Cup winner. The contest will be held on Fifth and Jackson Streets, next to the Cicero Law Office.

Emcee Jim Bucher, from WDTN’S Channel 2 News, and the lovely Bud Girls will introduce the spooky and spectacular participants of the Hauntfest costume contest, which will be held on the main stage at 10 p.m. Goodies for first, second and third prize winners in a variety of categories, including best group costume, best individual costume and best witch costume, will be awarded following judging by a panel of celebrity judges.

Kettering resident Kathryn Cole said she has attended the annual Halloween party around 10 times. “I’m dressing as the Ice Queen from Chronicles of Narnia,” Cole added. Cole said she isn’t sure she’ll enter the costume contest, but she is looking forward to rendezvousing with her friends at the event, seeing all the costumes, and visiting several Oregon District venues.

Bars and taverns in the Oregon Arts District will provide undead entertainment by bands and DJs the night of Hauntfest. LYD will take the stage at the Oregon Express, and Skilless Villains bring their sinister groove to Trolley Stop. According to Dani Bandura at Trolley Stop, the cover will be waived unless you’ve neglected to wear a costume. Tumbleweed Connection will open their balcony bar, light up their fire pits on the patio and offer entertainment by Romeo Champagne inside. According to Blind Bob’s employee Andy Rowe, their patio will be open and the staff will be dressed as characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

“Nate and Bob Mendenhall and I have our star fleet uniforms ready,” said Rowe. “I think some of the staff is planning a mutiny and will show up in Star Wars costumes though.”

Directions to Hauntfest on Fifth, parking information and details about the district’s numerous establishments are available at

Ghouls looking for an appropriate place to park their hearses can also pull up to the Tailgate of Terror, a fundraiser at the Yellow Cab building at 700 E. Fourth St. For $20, the Dayton Circus Creative Collective offer parking, entertainment by DJ Jay Madewell, the White Soots, C. Wright’s Parlour Tricks and the Fair Shakes, and a place for spirits to pull up a grill and cooler for pre-game activities. The Yellow Cab building became a community arts hub in April 2011, and the parking lot will be open from 4 p.m. Oct. 29 until 3 a.m. on Oct. 30.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership’s Web site,, has a complete list of all of downtown’s arts and cultural amenities, as well as a dining guide, parking map, events calendar and much more.

Hauntfest on Fifth is sponsored by Budweiser, Bud Light, Budweiser Select, Buckeye Vodka, 104.7 WTUE, 103.9 The X, Channel 99.9, Mix 107.7, WDTN Channel 2, Dayton City Paper and the Oregon District Business Association. Happy Halloween!

Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at

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