WOODSTOCK – Sip a "Flu," don't catch it. Drink a "Sidecar," but don't drive after. Get stung by the "Bee's Knees."
Starting in early April, area residents will have the chance to try all the oddly named prohibition and Depression era cocktails at several Woodstock establishments. To honor Orson Welles and promote an upcoming anniversary celebration for him, Woodstock Celebrates, Inc. is planning an extended pub crawl featuring several unusual beverages.
The crawl lasts for six weeks, running from April 4 through May 17. The organization is throwing a celebration on May 16 and 17 for the 80th anniversary of Welles' directorial debut, which he made in Woodstock.
"We thought we wanted to get the word around town and get some people involved, and the pub crawl seemed like a good idea," Woodstock Celebrates, Inc. Spokesman Peter Gill said.
Those who order a drink – and get their card punched – at each of the 13 participating bars and restaurants will be entered into a prize drawing.
Organizers of the Welles event have said their aim is to shed light on a film and radio icon who was greatly impacted by Woodstock – a fact often underappreciated, they say.
Welles attended the Todd School in Woodstock and returned in 1934 at age 19 to make his debut as a director. He would go on to make the 1941 classic "Citizen Kane," the most recognizable film of a storied career and a movie some call the greatest ever.
Welles' radio work includes the famous "War of the Worlds" production in 1938.
"A lot of people you talk to around town say, 'Who's Orson Welles?'" Gill said. "He's a guy that if you ask any film buff, he's like the Michael Jordan of the film industry."
Woodstock Celebrates is also planning an event for May 6, 2015, which would have been Welles' 100th birthday. The 80th anniversary celebration will include several talks from well-known Welles scholars and biographers, among other events.
Gill said he hopes the bar crawl helps set the stage for that weekend – and, along the way, lets people get a taste of a different time.
"They're going to come up with some pretty cool, funky old drinks that will be a little different than the customers are used to," Gill said.