Zombies to prowl in downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix Ambassador Gabriela Arroyo participates in last year’s Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk on Oct. 29, 2011. The annual walk is organized by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership and will take place at Heritage Square and Science Park on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Anna Consie)

Innocent bystanders beware: A zombie apocalypse is headed for downtown Phoenix.

The Zombie Walk will return to Phoenix for the fourth year from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Heritage Square and Science Park Saturday.

Zombie Walk 4 will feature live music, food vendors, a beer garden and make-up artists.

The Arizona Science Center will host a Little Zombie Zone for kids, and there will be a Zombie Activity Zone for other participants.

The Downtown Phoenix Partnership organizes the event each year, and Rosson House Museum and the Arizona Science Center are among the sponsors.

A canned food drive at the event will benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Although the Zombie Walk is free, a canned food donation lands attendees a quick zombie makeover from a volunteer make-up artist.

Professional make-up artists will also be available for a cost. Prices depend on how elaborate the make-up is.

The walk will be split into three groups to avoid bottlenecking as the DPP expects a large crowd.

DPP Senior Director of Marketing R.J. Price said he expects Zombie Walk 4 to have a record number of participants.

The Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors first put together the walk because it saw the event as an opportunity for a fun community event, Price said.

“It started off as a grassroots event with 200 attendees, but this year we are hoping for 10,000 people,” he said. “We haven’t tried to make it bigger; it just happened.”

The Arizona Ghostbusters, a volunteer organization and fan club, will lead the walk with its Ectomobile, warning the public of the oncoming zombie walk.

The first group will leave around 6 p.m. The walk begins at Fifth and Monroe streets, circles downtown and concludes at Heritage and Science Park. It takes more than an hour to complete the walk.

Arizona Ghostbusters Captain Jeff Lewis said his team has been involved with the walk since it started in 2009 because it offers them a chance to act like real Ghostbusters.

“We’re volunteers first and Ghostbusters second,” Lewis said. “Being in the walk is just like being in a zombie movie … even more like really being in the zombie apocalypse.”

The Ghostbusters will run the registration and canned food collection booth and help with the makeup booths.

Price said zombie-related events are big hits because video games and television shows have popularized zombies.

However, with growth also comes the potential for dangers. Price said they have received immense police and security support.

He said this year the kids zone will also offer safety classes.

“We’ve been fortunate to have peaceful, family-friendly participants,” Price said. “It is hard to have an event of this size while controlling the crowd.”

DPP is also looking for volunteers to help out with the event. Volunteers will choose one of four shifts. The application can be found online.

DPP Community Editor Anna Consie said volunteers are needed by event organizers in order to successfully put together the event.

“With 10,000 zombies, volunteers are essential,” she said. “They keep the zombies from taking over the city and eating brains.”

 

Reach the reporter at ppineda@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @paulinapineda22