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With a rich history in film, comics, novels and TV shows, it’s no surprise zombies have emerged as beloved, albeit disgusting, pop culture icons. Downtown Phoenix is just one of many communities around the globe that participates in a yearly zombie walk or celebration. Since the inception of Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk in 2009, it has grown from 200 attendees to 20,000 in 2013.
So what is a zombie walk?
The first known zombie walk was held in Toronto in 2003 with seven participants and since then, the trend has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with walks in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK – just to name a few.
Typically, zombie walks bring people together in an urban setting just to have fun. After meeting in a designated location, people in zombie makeup and garb parade through city streets, public spaces or bars (in the case of a zombie pub crawl.) It’s organized for entertainment but often has a charitable component.
How did the annual event find roots in Downtown Phoenix?
In 2009, the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors put together a small zombie walk as a fun event amongst themselves. Zombie walks were just starting to gain popularity in other cities and seemed like a good way to get outside, have fun and explore Downtown. Without much advertising or promotion, over 200 people showed up! From there, the event took off, growing exponentially each year.
Similar to zombie walks around the county, the goal is to raise money for charity. In 2011, Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk partnered with St. Mary’s Food Bank and since then, has collected more than 10,000 pounds of non-perishable food items for people in need.
Why have zombies grown in worldwide popularity so much in the last decade?
It’s hard to say what spurred the recent craze, but the entertainment industry is certainly a driving force. From recent movies like “World War Z,” TV shows like “The Walking Dead,” comics like DC’s “Blackest Night” and video games like “Resident Evil” – zombies permeate every aspect of pop culture.
How can I get involved in zombie-mania?
Come to Zombie Walk 6 Saturday, Oct. 25! It’s a free community-based event in the heart of Downtown Phoenix at Heritage and Science Park. Featuring live music presented by Psyko Steve, Little Zombie Zone, Four Peaks beer garden and Zombification makeup tent, this festival is a raucous good time for the entire family (including baby zombies.) Doors open at 2:00 p.m., the walk begins at dusk and the party doesn’t stop until 11:00 p.m.!
How do I make myself looks like a zombie?
The first 400 people to bring a non-perishable food item benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank will receive a voucher for one free zombie makeover. Or you can watch our video tutorial that provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a zombie look in 15 minutes or less using inexpensive household items. Whether you’re a newbie to the walk or a zombie veteran, we greatly encourage everyone to bring canned food donations benefitting St. Mary’s Food Bank.
*First and second photos courtesy of Mr. Anathema Photography. Last photo courtesy of 98KUPD.