The annual Zombie Walk in Harmar Village has become so popular, organizers have had to expand.
According to Chuck Swaney, an organizer of the event and owner of FOUND Antiques, a stage will be set up in the parking lot behind the Busy Bee restaurant this year to accommodate all the performances that will be featured.
"We have four dance companies and two theater groups that will perform," he said. "These kids (in the dance groups) work so hard, I want them to get their due."
Times file photo
Zombie ballerinas, soccer players and others from Marietta Dance Academy perform a dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” during a past Zombie Walk in Harmar Village. This year’s event will be held Saturday and will feature performances from four dance companies, as well as games and a costume contest.
Swaney said last year there were roughly 500 attendees of the walk in the 100 block of Maple Street and only the people who were right up close to the dancers were able to see the routine. So this year the idea is to have two different areas.
"This year will be a challenge. I'm a little nervous about dividing up the crowd but I think it will go well," Swaney said.
Ashley Griemsmann, 17, of Marietta had the chance to experience the Harmar Zombie Walk last year as a new member of Marietta Dance Academy.
If you go
What: Zombie Walk IV.
Where: 100 block Maple Street in Harmar Village and behind Busy Bee Restaurant.
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Details: Onstage performances by Marietta Dance Academy ("Thriller" dance at 9:45 p.m.), Gel's Dance Centre, Jessica's Dance Company and Marietta College dance team; improv by Mid-Ohio Valley Players, "Time Warp" from "The Rocky Horror Show"; zombie olympics and parade; after party at Harmar Tavern, 10 p.m. to close.
($5 entry fee)
Best Zombie Couple - $200.
Drop Dead Female - $150.
Zombie Male - $150.
Dreadful Little Zombie, male and female - $50 each.
(Three person teams, $5 entry fee):
Team to complete five challenges wins $300.
"It's a really cool experience. People go all out," she said. "It's kind of scary, really. But a lot of fun."
Griemsmann relocated to the area from Pennsylvania and said that she has never witnessed anything quite like the annual event where Marietta Dance Academy performs its version of the Michael Jackson hit, "Thriller."
"I think it's good for people to see that Marietta Dance Academy does all different kinds of dance," she said.
The "Thriller" dance and a routine from the competition team will be performed this year, along with performances from Jessica's Dance Company, Gel's Dance Centre and the Marietta College dance team.
An improvisation group with the Mid-Ohio Valley Players will perform a zombie skit, according to Swaney, and there will be a performance from "The Rocky Horror Show."
Zombies have invaded the popular culture more than ever in recent years, thanks in part to the AMC show "The Walking Dead" and movies like "Shaun of the Dead," "28 Days Later," "Zombieland" and the "Resident Evil" series.
Leigh Ball, 25, of Marietta isn't so much a zombie or horror fan but said she loves Halloween and dressing up. Last year was the first time Ball had attended the zombie walk in Harmar Village.
"I was really impressed. It was awesome and everyone looked so much better than me," she said, adding that this year she hopes to kick it up a notch with her costume and makeup.
Last year's winner for best male costume was Marietta resident Ted Barth, 60, who went with a theme to tie into the historic nature of Harmar Village.
"I was a railroad engineer," he said. "I had the hickory-stripe bibs (overalls), engineer's hat, a lantern with a blue light, some other railroad regalia and some fake blood."
The blood was to simulate what might have led to the poor engineer's demise - man versus train.
"I must have had 100 people want to take their picture with me," he said.
In the end it came down to a pair of creepy pumpkin heads and Barth, who won the audience over.
This year's costume idea is still brewing in Barth's brain and he isn't willing to give too much away.
"I want to work some humor into it because the more enthused the crowd is, it seems to help. But I think I want to keep it a surprise," he said.
Costume prizes range from $50 to $200. There is a $5 entry fee. Teams can also compete in the zombie olympics, for a $300 prize.