Over the past 50 years, zombies have enjoyed an ebb and flow of popularity with the public. Back in the late ‘60s the B-movie “Night of the Living Dead” shocked audiences with its graphic content and horrific acting. Over the past decade or so we’ve entered into the zombie zeitgeist with the pop culture being bombarded with zombie books, video games, films, film series’ and even the massively successful AMC show “Walking Dead,” which debuted its new season last week.
Locally, the zombie movement kicks into high gear this Halloween season with the debut ZomBay Walk, which takes place Oct. 20 beginning with an opening ceremony of sorts at the Merry-Go-Round Museum before the costumed attendees go for a walk and freak out unsuspecting downtown Sandusky visitors. Also, various businesses participating in the event are offering discounts.
Funcoast talked to Merry-Go-Round Museum Executive Director Veronica Vandenbout about this ghoulish fundraising event.
Funcoast: First of all, what is a ZomBay walk?
Veronica Vandenbout (VV): We’re going to have psychic readings, music, beer and soft drinks [at the museum]. It’s just a chance to get in the spirit before we head down for the walk. We have a Zombie Zar who will actually lead the parade down Washington and Columbus, down to Water Street. The parade will actually end at The Underground. They’re doing a Zombie Prom that evening. On the back of their tickets they receive for the event, they also get discounts downtown for various places including places like Mona Pizza, Hot Dog Tony’s and Cabana Jacks. Different spots are offering different discounts.
Funcoast: Will there be finger foods at the Merry-Go-Round Museum portion of the evening?
VV: Finger foods, that’s really funny. It’s from 6 to 8 p.m. so we’re not really looking at food. With so many options downtown that really didn’t fit. We’d rather people went down to Hot Dog Tony’s for the Dead Dog, which is their special that evening or get Mona Pizza out or that kind of thing.
Funcoast: How did we decide on a zombie-themed evening?
VV: You know, everybody wants to celebrate Halloween, and we wanted to celebrate it in a different way. This is giving us that opportunity. So instead of having to figure out what you’re going to come to the Halloween party as – that’s always the hard part, am I coming as a witch or Batman? – now you don’t have to worry about that. Now you just come as a zombie. We also thought folks who dress up as zombies like to be able to walk. That’s part of being a zombie, and this way it draws people to the museum, it gives them an opportunity to see what they’ve been missing and then they can walk downtown and have themselves a great time even after our event is done.
Funcoast: So they’ll be walking downtown streets in search of brains?
VV: Is that what they’re looking for?
Funcoast: Normally zombies eat brains and body parts but oddly enough don’t eat other zombies.
VV: OK, so they’re looking for the living. Well, we’re going to give them a plethora of choices downtown. We’ll have civilians everywhere. That happens on a normal Saturday night.
Funcoast: What’s the reaction been so far to the ZomBay walk?
VV: Well, it depends on the age of the person I’m talking to, to be honest. Under the age of 30, everybody thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. Over the age of 40, they have this completely quizzical look on their face like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But the response from downtown Sandusky businesses has been extremely positive.
Funcoast: Why has there been such a positive response from the businesses?
VV: I think the museum is building on the success of Art Walk. The downtown folks know that when the museum is involved, it is well thought out, well planned and well executed. And they’re willing to support us in those efforts.
Funcoast: Finally, the question everyone wants answered: Will you be dressing as a zombie?
VV: No, I think I’m going to end up being one of the humans.