The Zombie Walk continues to evolve

Downtown Long Beach becomes infested by the infected the sixth annual year.

The Zombie Walk continues to evolve

Priscella Vega | Daily 49er

Rock band The Radioactive Chicken Heads call zombies and ghouls on stage to rock along with them at the 6th annual Zombie Walk. Multiple bands played at the event on Saturday.

The dead came to life Saturday night.

Downtown Long Beach slowly became inundated with a variety of zombie enthusiasts for the city’s 6th annual Zombie Walk.

Throughout the years, Zombie Walk Organizer Logan Crow has continuously transformed the Halloween event with the help of the nonprofit, Long Beach Cinematheque, and volunteers.

Last year was the first time the Zombie Walk required a ticket for admission. The event started off as a grassroots event but eventually grew so big that the city told the Zombie Walk crew they needed permits, according to Stage Manager of Lot B, Aaron Cohen.

This year, cost for admission was $10 if tickets were purchased before the event and $15 if purchased at the door.

There were three zones blocked off for the celebration: Pine Avenue, the Promenade and First Street to East Alta Way.

The Promenade area gathered the most zombies with a walkway dedicated to unique and Halloween-inspired merchandise booths that led to the main music stage and a wrestling stage as well as food trucks and game booths.

Pine Avenue featured local bands while First Street was used to screen zombie classics like “Night of the Living Dead,” directed by George A. Romero, and “Dawn of the Dead,” directed by Zack Snyder.

Zombie Walk Event Coordinator Barbie Sommars said she was glad to have the event back in the heart of downtown instead of in the grass area of the Shoreline Village, where last year’s event took place.

“Although [last year’s event] was a great success, personally, I missed seeing the zombies in an urban environment,” Sommars said. “It thrills me to not only put on a great event for the public to enjoy but to also see the local businesses thrive.”

Cohen, who is also vocalist of The Radioactive Chicken Heads, became involved with the event after Crow invited them to help out with the band section.

“Planning takes place six months ahead of time,” Cohen said. “We’re lucky to have Crow because there isn’t that many people who take the initiative to do something huge. The people involved do it through a labor of love; they don’t do it for the money. They’re happy to break even.”

There were also makeup stations located throughout the event in case anyone wanted professional zombie makeup. Attendees were able to see the transformation of people from a regular human being to an infected, undead person throughout the day.

Bands like The Radioactive Chicken Heads and Haunted Garage created the most buzz for the main stage. Haunted Garage performed for the first time in 20 years and saw old-school fans in attendance and still showing support.

To help keep the spirit of the event thriving, Cohen said a lot of the bands he chose were based on their theatrical performance.

As attendees walked toward different zones, fans dressed in unique and outlandish costumes were posing for pictures and creating wacky scenarios.

Some of the costumes included a zombie Frank-n-Furter from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Jesus Christ, terrifying clowns, zombified Disney princesses and other wacky outfits.

The only downside of this year’s Zombie Walk was the lack of an actual zombie walk. In the event’s past two years, there were specific routes and times set for zombies to start walking down and create an endless stream of the living dead staggering throughout downtown.

Cohen said the change was a result of previous years when mischievous zombies rode city buses and scared people.

“The City of Long Beach thought there would be a zombie uprising,” Cohen said. “The city announced they didn’t want any organized mob.”

As dusk came, zombies continued to stagger toward the event in large groups, bringing the area to life with their enthusiasm and in-character personalities.