COVER STORY

Zombie Crawl

Fearsome Fun


Zombie Crawl shuffles downtown Eureka Springs Oct. 27

A Gory good time

Put on your makeup, perfect your creepy walk and hide your brains … the 7th annual Zombie Crawl returns to Eureka Springs on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Starting at 6:30 p.m. on Spring Street, the crawl features a creeping parade procession of funeral hearses, doomsday vehicles, Halloween floats, post-mortem street performers and a hungry horde of the undead. For those who need help getting ready, makeup artists and zombie-themed vendors will be available in Basin Park before the parade begins to assist the dearly departed.

Melonlight Dance will host a free family-friendly pre-prade Thriller dance workshop in the park from noon to 2 p.m., so you can find something to do in the park all day long.

Jeff Danos, who created the event, said he’s expecting a record number of attendees this year.

“The numbers have just exploded,” Danos said.

Nearly 20,000 people have expressed interest in coming to the crawl, Danos said. Even if half those people show up, he said, the crawl will be bigger than ever. Danos said he’s been working with city officials to be sure parking is available, saying the trolleys will run late Saturday night to accommodate those who can’t find parking downtown.

“I don’t really see parking as being a problem this year,” Danos said. “It’s going to be different, because the lots downtown are going to fill up quick. We’ll put together a map that shows where people can park, and we’ll have the trolley service for people to get into town and get back out.”

With everything starting at noon, Danos said, attendees should expect a fun-filled day of macabre activities. He said he’s hoping to have all kinds of vendors in Basin Park, not just makeup artists like in past years.

“I have a vendor who has already applied who will be doing psychic readings,” Danos said. “It’s really anything in the macabre vein.”

Those who take part in the dance workshop can show off their moves during the parade, Danos said. He explained how Melonlight is inviting everyone to join in the Thriller dance to cap off the parade.

“They’re going to take it in an entirely new direction. It’s going to be kind of like a flash mob with dance performers,” Danos said. “That’ll be a really interesting addition to what we have.”

Everyone is welcome at the event, Danos said. From the beginning, he said, the crawl has welcomed participants of all ages. It’s all about being creative and having fun, he said.

“This is a family event. We’ve got kids here. We don’t want lewd behavior,” Danos said. “We try to avoid bad behavior and watch the language. We have people show up who aren’t just gory scary zombies.”

Last year, Danos said, a little boy came to the crawl dressed as Michael Jackson in the Thriller video. He’s also seen zombie Spiderman and zombie Santa Claus, Danos said.

“You see silly stuff. We had Batman one year for some reason,” Danos said. “At any of our events, we try to make it so the families can have fun together. It’s not a situation where the parents are bored but the kids are having fun, or the kids are bored but the parents are having fun. We try to make it so they can have fun together.”

The best part of the event, Danos said, is it’s all for a good cause. Everyone who participates in the parade, he said, must donate a non-perishable item for Flint Street Food Bank. That’s important, Danos said, because he knows how much the food bank helps Eureka Springs citizens.

“We’ve had to go to the food bank. I’m one of those people,” Danos said. “I saw it firsthand, and now we want to give back. I see Flint Street as being an incredible resource for the community. They’re good-hearted people. They deserve as much assistance as they can get.”

After the parade, adults are invited to attend the Totally 80s Halloween dance party at Upstairs at Grotto at 39 Spring St.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Danos said.

Danos said he hopes to see a big crowd during the crawl, saying he’s astounded at how much the event has grown over the years. It’s for a good reason, Danos said.

“The crawl is a chance to escape who you are and get out of your everyday life,” Danos said. “Come see Eureka at the most beautiful time of the year, and at the same time, be a part of this massive parade with people who are having fun and being creative.”