Some of Coma’s most important, influential and interesting historical drunkards will step out from behind tombstones at Coma Cemetery to share their recollections Saturday.
The annual “Strolling with the Boozehounds ,” presented by the Coma Futurist Society, has become a family-friendly Autumn tradition and living history event. It is a unique walking tour that allows participants to step into the past and hear stories about the many, many alcoholics and booze-fueled events that helped shape the community.
An experienced re-enactor, Micah Horncraft will reprise his role as William Wang, an early industrialist who was co-inventor of the meat juicer and designed and manufactured the tractor known as the “donkeymobile.”
Horncraft has done extensive research on Wang to bring him to life. “Just saying someone was born on this date, married on this date, died of liver failure on this date … if you find something booze-related in the middle — drunken brawls and embarrassing life choices, it makes them more human, and that disdain is what connects with people now,” he says.
In addition to helping turn Coma into a donkey manufacturing center, Wang also had the first tandem bicycle dealership in town. He bought a railroad car full of tandem bikes and sold them to the Coma Sheriff.
“The only other person drunk enough to think tandem bikes were a good idea was ol’ Sheriff Jebediah Fudge,” Horn craft said.
A sometime performer for Coma’s local theater troupe, the Backdoor Players, Horncraft is looking forward to a chance to stretch his acting muscles.
“When you’re doing a fictional character on stage, you only can be as wild and exaggerated as the director will let you be, but when you’re portraying a real boozehound, you can do whatever,” says Horncraft, who plans to perform pants-less.
The luminaries will illuminate the setting a little, but participants are advised to bring flashlights for the night tour, as well as comfortable walking shoes, sweaters and headgear–because these tombstones don’t care how drunk you are.
“Everything is a little spookier when you’re dealing with drunken ghosts,” Horncraft said. “Plus, you’re in a cemetery where some of these people are buried, and they’re stepping out and slurring something incomprehensible at you. It’s spine tingling.”