By CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Last year, Somerset experience a night of the living dead. This year, it’s full day of ghoulish goodness.
For the second straight year, downtown will experience a “Zombie Walk” on Saturday, wherein fans of the popular horror movie creature — typically conceived as a dead individual who’s managed to come back to life in a primitive state and a hunger for brains — can dress up and pretend to be totally zombified.
Wynona Padgett, organizer of the event, said the idea came as just the result of her own fandom for the genre — very seasonal, with Halloween on the way later this month.
“I love zombie movies and I love scary things and Halloween,” she said. “I had seen (other communities) doing these types of walks, and thought it would be a good event.”
In 2011, it turned out that Padgett wasn’t the only fan of the idea. An estimated 700 people turned out on a Thursday night to roam around town and live out the chance to act like zombies without anyone looking at them strangely.
This year, Padgett is expecting an even bigger crowd for the Clear Channel-Lake Cumberland Zombie Walk.
“Facebook invitations are already double what the number was last year, and a lot of people who don’t use Facebook will come too,” she said. “It could be anywhere from 700 people ... to 1,200. I don’t know what to expect. I’m a little nervous.”
A good kind of nervous, since it looks like a boon for the community. A number of vendors will be on hand, providing goods, food, and even “zombie makeovers.” Four bands will be providing live music, and activities like a corn hole tournament, a dance-off to the popular Michael Jackson song “Thriller,” inflatables for kids, a “monster dance presentation”, and a free outdoor showing of 1968 zombie movie classic “Night of the Living Dead” will all be part of the festivities, which will begin at around 2 p.m. and last throughout the day.
The event itself is free, although many of the vendors will be selling items during the day.
“This year, Somerset Police said we ought to make it an all-day event,” said Padgett. “Somebody may not want to bring little kids to something involving the undead, but during the day in might not be as scary.”
The Somerset Junior Women’s Club will have a “Zombie Motorcycle Ride” to benefit the Lake Cumberland Children’s Advocacy Center, with registration at 9 a.m. and start time at 10, with a cost of $10 per person including a snack and a meal, departing from the downtown judicial center.
Padgett also said that starting earlier in the day will give people time to learn the “Thriller” dance moves, with assistance from local dance studio Pep & Pizzazz.
At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the actual zombie walk will begin, and following that, the movie will start at 9 p.m.
It’s also held the night before the premiere of the new season of the popular AMC zombie-themed TV show, “The Walking Dead,” noted Padgett. Just something to add a little more flavor to an already scary good time.
“It’s a night to get dressed up and be somebody else,” said Padgett. “It’s a good community event to gather with people just to have fun. It’s a safe event, and if you have the slightest like for scary movies, this lets you fulfill your fantasy of being a part of it.”