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Downtown Napa: Haunted High Jinks

A zombie run, a coffin race, and other small town haps are on the pre-Halloween horizon.

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    A zombie run, a coffee race, and other small town haps are on the haunted horizon in wine country.

    HARVEST TIME... around a famous wine country is a busy one, not only because of all of that important work that needs to be done (getting grapes off of vines, then the crush, then the tanks, and so on) but because so many visitors plan a fall getaway, the better to enjoy the fine weather and pretty vineyard leaves. But other regular visitors to wine country aren't there simply for the autumnal sip scene, but rather because October's end takes on an eerie and atmospheric guise. Look to Napa, which will offer a haunted host of happenings on the final Saturday of the month, which just happens to be Halloween Eve Eve (one can never have enough "eve"-ing when it comes to the spookiest of occasions, for all of those extra eves add a pinch of poetry). What's the wicked (but sweet) schedule for the town on Saturday, Oct. 29? Well, there's the...

    ZOMBIE RUN, which is hosted by the Napa Police Association. It has the early-ish start time of 8 a.m. on Oct. 29, so if you're the kind of undead runner who won't take a jog before noon, ponder setting a couple of alarms, just to make the groan-y, picture-worthy scene. The first-ever OxBoo Festival follows, at 9 a.m., with '80s tunes and seasonal activities giving the daytime gathering some ghoulish flair. And as for those famous Napa Valley Coffin Races? Oh, they're on all right, you better believe it. It's a fright-fun fundraiser for the Napa City Firefighters Association, and you can cheer on, donate, or do a bit of both. Who knew that a town right in the heart of so much wine goodness puts on a coffin race, a zombie run, and a family festival, all over the same day? Well, people in Napa know. And know this: Harvest is a bustling time around the region, but there's only one day a year when both the undead, and their caskets, are on the merry, slightly macabre move.