The Historic Harmar Village will be alive Saturday night with music, dancing and the living dead.
The third annual Zombie Walk will take over the 100 block of Maple Street as people vie for best zombie costume honors and compete in the inaugural Zombie Olympics.
The event started in 2009 at the suggestion of Marietta Soda Museum owner Ralph "Pee Wee" Waldeck as a way to capitalize on the zombie trend in pop culture, said Chuck Swaney, owner of FOUND Antiques and one of the event's organizers.
"It's everywhere. It's in movies, television, you've got 'The Walking Dead' right now," he said, referring to the popular AMC show based on the long-running comic book series of the same name.
The first event was put together in five weeks, Swaney recalled.
"Just rounded up a DJ, put some fliers out," he said. "We got maybe 100 people that showed up the first year."
If you go
What: Zombie Walk III.
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: 100 block of Maple Street in Historic Harmar Village.
Who: All ages.
Entertainment: Live dance performances, Parkersburg Actors Guild performance of "Time Warp" from "The Rocky Horror Show."
Contests: Cash prizes for best zombie costumes in four categories; Zombie Olympics with the winning team receiving $300.
For information: Chuck Swaney, 215-4663.
Attendance tripled last year, Swaney said, and he's hoping for even bigger numbers this time around. Fliers for the event have been posted in Athens and other locations outside the immediate area.
"With this being our third year, I'm hoping we break out of the Marietta/Parkersburg area," he said.
Those attending can win cash prizes if they dress up as zombies. The "drop dead" female and best zombie male will each win $150, while the top dreadful little zombie boy and girl will also get $50 apiece.
The format of the contest has changed this year. Entrants will be assigned numbers as they register and judges will circulate in the crowd, taking notes and narrowing down a group of finalists from which the audience will choose the winners.
There's also a $300 cash prize for the victorious team in the Zombie Olympics, a series of five events - the zombie three-leg sack race, the zombie crawl, zombie cornhole, zombie corpse drag and zombie huevos run.
Swaney described the events as similar to what you'd find at a county fair, "except everybody's dressed like a zombie."
Some fraternity and sorority houses from Marietta College are fielding teams but the event is open to anyone.
"Anybody in town is welcome to put together a three-man team and come out for the event," he said.
The entertainment will have a Halloween theme, including a performance of the song "Time Warp" from the cult-favorite "Rocky Horror Show" by the Parkersburg Actors Guild. A trio of local dance studios will also take the stage at the river end of Maple Street. Gel's Dance Studio is making its first appearance at the event, while Jessica's Dance Company is back for a second time and Marietta Dance Academy has been represented at all three Zombie Walks.
Jessica's Dance Company owner Jessica Ward said her dancers have been rehearsing for the event for the last four weeks. In addition to choreography and costumes, they've gotten help from the Halloween City store on zombie-style makeup.
Swaney noted the Zombie Walks tend to draw different people to the village than more traditional events like Harmar Days. He said he'd like to see the event continue as long as there's interest.
"Will it last? Don't know. But we'll keep it up for a few more years at least," he said.