News Column

Zombies Come Out and Play on Saturday

Oct. 25, 2012

Holly Prestidge

If you are looking for something to do Saturday night, maybe you have the urge to don a little fake blood and guts and get together with other like-minded un-dead folks to check out the city's newest Halloween party -- Zombie Bash -- at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

And if you look good enough -- or bad enough -- you might win a tandem sky-diving experience.

Matthew Fitch, Richmond resident and owner of No Limits Skydiving schools in Virginia, said he wanted to create a large-scale Richmond event to celebrate Halloween.

Along with Rose Maghdouri, marketing coordinator for the bash, they've dreamed up a night filled with fortune tellers, zombie make-up artists, bands belting out tunes from the '70s, '80s and '90s -- even an attempt to set a record for the largest "Thriller" dance at midnight.

Zombie costumes are highly encouraged but not required, and sky-diving prizes will be given out for best zombie, best non-zombie and best group.

"Halloween and dancing to Michael Jackson (and) '80s music -- how can you go wrong?" Fitch said.

He loves Halloween and said he was inspired to do something locally after living in New York City and being part of activities and parties there on and around Oct. 31.

Fitch said he's hoping the party draws several thousand people and becomes an annual event.

But you don't have to wait until the witching hour Saturday night to get into character.

Start early by spending the afternoon lumbering through Carytown as part of the eighth annual Zombie Walk, benefiting the American Cancer Society.

Every year the event gets bigger, said Josh Bishop, one of the walk's organizers. Nearly 600 people participated last year, a far cry from the 80 or so who came out eight years ago.

Bishop and co-organizer Anthony Menez lead the event, which starts at the western end of Carytown, extends to the Byrd Theatre, and then back west again.

The fascination with zombies is a product of being a child of the '80s, Bishop said, and growing up with zombie movies like "Dawn of the Dead" as well as older flicks like "Night of the Living Dead."

"As a kid we all like to be scared," Bishop said. The walk allows folks to take something scary and make it fun, he said, while simultaneously raising money for a good cause. And all zombies are instructed to behave themselves.

"We don't want everyone banging on shop windows or accosting people," Bishop said. In addition to raising money, he hopes the spectacle brings some business to the shops and restaurants throughout Carytown.

"All of the shops are really pretty good about it," he said.

Source: (c)2012 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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