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Dark Park

After spreading the seeds of local music throughout various bars and nightclubs in Broward County, By the Way promoters Garo Gallo and Yvonne Colón are trading the confines of the club scene for a more open environment — Fort Lauderdale's public parks. In early September, the pair hooked up with the city's Parks and Recreation Department to begin planning their first municipal event, "Nightmare in the Park," the massive monster mash that takes over Stranahan Park on Monday evening.

"When we first met with the city, they were trying to arrange for live music, so it was good timing," Gallo says. "They said they wanted to be more involved in what the younger generations were doing. That's where we come in."

Between the city's coffers and BTW's contacts in the art and music communities, this is the Halloween event to attend. Come 6 p.m. Monday, anyone within screaming distance of the Broward Boulevard/Andrews Avenue intersection will think they've stumbled upon the set of a George Romero film; the entire park is transformed into a sea of spookiness. Here's a brief rundown of what to expect:

Entertainment: A mobile stage sets up on SE First Street, facing toward the park, featuring live music and broadcasts from Nova Southeastern University's 88.5 FM as well as screenings courtesy of Destination Television (BarTV). In order of appearance, the lineup includes Tres Bien, the Same, Sayonara Tokyo, Dooms de Pop, the Remnants, and Girls Named Lourdis.

Skateboarding: Meanwhile, on SE First Avenue, B.C. Surf & Sport sponsors a costumed skate contest. Kids, this is your chance to legally imitate Jackass. Bam Margera can't be the only guy to skate in a fat suit, now can he?

Art: We're not talking about still-life paintings of pink tulips here. This is Halloween, damn it. And ArtServe ain't screwin' around when it sets up shop in front of the library, presenting horror-themed works by its member artists. Don't fret; the blood-red paint is really just blood-red paint.

Costume contests: Yep, you could win a cash prize for that creepy mole-man costume. Bonus points if you crawl out of the ground.

Other scary stuff: These mosquitoes are as big as bats! Well, that's because they are bats, probably on their way to the haunted forest... or perhaps the haunted house. Both are located just outside the Fort Lauderdale Woman's Club building. Sorry, no meetings this evening.

Not-so-scary stuff: If you're not afraid of needles, there's a booth where you can donate blood. And if you still have an appetite after that, the assortment of food vendors provides more than candy corn.

If all of this sounds more like a good time than a bad dream, well, it's supposed to. The real nightmare would be waking up Tuesday morning and recalling that you spent Halloween watching Friday the 13th sequels all night.

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Jason Budjinski

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