Daily 49er

Zombie Fest returns to the Pike

Long Beach saw hordes of zombies take to the streets for the annual festival.

Long+Beach+residents+dressed+in+their+best+costumes+at+this+weekends+Zombie+Fest.
Long Beach residents dressed in their best costumes at this weekends Zombie Fest.

Long Beach residents dressed in their best costumes at this weekends Zombie Fest.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Long Beach residents dressed in their best costumes at this weekends Zombie Fest.

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Groans and screams filled the air this weekend as hundreds of zombies sluggishly overtook Long Beach. But your brains are safe — it was just part of the annual Zombie Fest at The Pike Outlets.

Hosted by O Entertainment, a Long Beach production company, the three-day event invited zombie enthusiasts to celebrate all things undead with food trucks, scare zones and live music performances.

The festival featured numerous events throughout the weekend including the Infamous Zombie Walk, dance workshops, makeup booths and a brain eating contest, where real brains and other animal parts were served to participants.

Beginning at the Rainbow Lagoon, attendees gathered in zombie attire and makeup and shuffled around the surrounding area, shocking unaware spectators.

Attendees were encouraged to remain in character, displaying only zombie mannerisms and speaking in loud grunts, slurring calls for brains.

Led by Cal State Long Beach alum and president of O Entertainment Roy Hassett, the zombie walk has been a hallowed tradition of Zombie Fest.

Hassett’s son, Troy Hassett, voiced his enthusiasm for the event and its participants.

“I mean I love it, just look at this guy,” Hassett said, pointing to a man strapped into a bloody bathtub with a zombie. “People really get creative.”

Hunter Lee
The heart of the Zombie Fest lies in the dedicated participants who put great effort into their costumes.

For those who did not dress up, they still had a chance to be zombified in time for the walk by special effects artists from the Cinema Makeup School at the Zombification Zone.

Offering their free service, aspiring zombies were given professional transformations that left their faces mangled and distorted with claw marks and bloody gashes.

Dozens of people waited in line for the makeup booth, while artists worked relentlessly to give people a truly Hollywood-level zombie overhaul.

David Hamilton, a three-year veteran from Lakewood, has opted to do his own makeup throughout the years. Hamilton works full-time as a mechanic, but dabbles in special effects makeup as a hobby. He went all out this year with fake gashes covering his face, contacts making his eyes appear white and transparent and a tattered suit covered in blood stains.

“I just love to do this for fun,” Hamilton said. “It just started as a small hobby and has evolved throughout the years. I even do birthdays and other events now.”

Others took their own spin on the event and brought authentic and outlandish costumes such as video game characters, killer clowns, gnomes, and bride and groom couples. The Southland Ghostbusters, a cosplay non-profit fan group were one of many highlighted guests.

Hunter Lee
The cosplay group, Southland Ghostbusters made an appearance searching for any unruly ghost among the undead attendants.

Members of the group came dressed in custom “Ghostbusters” gear, sporting proton packs and an authentic Ecto-1 van.

“We came here looking for any ghosts but all I see are zombies,” Charles Lewin, one of the group’s founders said. “We’ll just hang out here in case we see anything.”

The cult-classic movie enthusiasts are also birthday party regulars, and will be attending the upcoming Los Angeles Comic-Con this weekend.

The festival also included an Interactive Quarantine Scare Zone, which offered a live-action roleplaying experience where participants dressed as zombies had the chance to scare fellow festival-goers for 15 minute increments.

For those looking for some undead dancing, a workshop was offered to teach participants the choreography for the Michael Jackson hit, “Thriller.”

The workshop was led by RemJ, a Jackson tribute artist who not only looked the part, but had the moves to back it up. “Thriller” fans were invited on stage as RemJ led them step by step through the iconic dance moves.

A costume contest wrapped up the event on Sunday where participants voted on the best dressed zombies for adult, couples and children categories. Winners received prizes such as tickets to the movie “Jigsaw,” escape rooms, and ghost tours as well as trophies and medals.

Zombie Fest will return to Long Beach next year.

Hunter Lee
Artists from the Cinema Makeup School offered free zombie makeovers for attendees.

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