Smaller crowd, overall smooth experience at Nightmare in Elgin

  • An estimated 12,500 people attended the Nightmare on Chicago Street zombie festival in Elgin on Saturday night, a smaller crowd than last year's record-breaking 18,500.

      An estimated 12,500 people attended the Nightmare on Chicago Street zombie festival in Elgin on Saturday night, a smaller crowd than last year's record-breaking 18,500. John Starks/jstarks@ dailyherald.com

  • The nightmarish clown Pennywise roamed Nightmare on Chicago Street in Elgin on Saturday night. Police Deputy Chief Al Young said the event overall went very well with minimal disturbances that were quickly dispersed.

      The nightmarish clown Pennywise roamed Nightmare on Chicago Street in Elgin on Saturday night. Police Deputy Chief Al Young said the event overall went very well with minimal disturbances that were quickly dispersed. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/23/2018 1:17 PM

Nightmare on Chicago Street in Elgin went smoothly, without last year's long waits and with a smaller-than-usual crowd estimated at about 13,500 people, according to city officials and social media posts.

"The new entrance and ticketing systems went well. Overall, we've had really positive feedback," city spokeswoman Molly Center said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Saturday's weather, with lows in the 20s, likely contributed to the lower attendance.

Last year's unseasonably warm weather drew a crowd of 18,500, a record for the annual event that started in 2011.

"One thing we know people enjoyed this year, that we typically don't bring out, were heaters!" Center said in an email.

The theme this year was "homecoming," with highlights including a school bus, marching band, parade floats and student zombies. A major new prop was a yellow plane that had "crashed" into the Spring Street parking garage.

The city also reintroduced a helicopter flyover this year, Center said.

"Honestly, this was the best year yet! Loved the changes, and new additions!" one woman posted on the event's Facebook page.

"The line for ID was long, but moved fast."

One glitch was that shuttles picking up people from two locations near downtown ran behind for the first hour or so, Center said. The shuttle company said one its two shuttles was inoperable, so a replacement had to be brought in, she said.

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"Once aware of issues, staff assisted in providing rides with a parks and recreation bus. In addition, a police squad provided 10 people a ride from the Center Street lot," she said.

A total of 12,183 tickets were sold, and 1,000 complimentary tickets were given to sponsors and entities such as Habitat for Humanity, Center said. At least 300 volunteers participated in the event, she said.

The city will tally the financials for the event at the end of November or early December, Center said.

Deputy Chief Al Young said Nightmare went very well overall, with minimal disturbances that were quickly dispersed.

"There was a large collaboration between all city departments to ensure patrons of Nightmare had a fun and safe experience in downtown Elgin," he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Police made one arrest after a report that one actor participating in the event, a juvenile, sustained a minor injury when someone pulled his or her arm, Young said.

A 34-year-old man from South Elgin was charged with misdemeanor battery at 10:58 p.m. after police got his description from witnesses and spotted him while monitoring video cameras connected to the police department, Young said.

A fire alarm was activated at Dream Hall, 51 S. Grove Ave., about 11:28 p.m. when smoke from a nearby outside vendor went into the business, causing patrons to believe there was a fire in the building, Young said.

Matthew Habib, owner of Legit Dogs & Ice inside Dream Hall, said he was involved in a scuffle outside the business after he tried to stop people he saw stealing soda cans placed near the side door.

Anyone who lost items during Saturday night's event is asked to call Lt. Jeff Adam at (847) 289-2531.

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