11th annual RVA Zombie Walk is back for your brains with first official Zombie Prom afterparty at Cap Ale 10/24

by | Oct 21, 2015 | COMMUNITY

Break out your best “Night of the Living Dead” impressions and get ready to saunter around the streets of Carytown with the other ghoulish freaks and weirdos of Richmond, because this weekend the
Break out your best “Night of the Living Dead” impressions and get ready to saunter around the streets of Carytown with the other ghoulish freaks and weirdos of Richmond, because this weekend the
11th Annual Richmond Zombie Walk is back for your flesh and ready to take a bite of your BRAINS!

Josh Bishop, co-organizer of the annual creepy crawl through Carytown can’t believe its been 11 years of terror and spooky fun.

“It doesn’t feel like its been that long, we’ve had a son over that time, he’s been in the Zombie Walk,” Bishop said. “We’ve watched this one father who’s brought his son since he was a little kid.”

They organizers are switching the route up this time around. Normally, zombies shuffle from the Kroger parking lot at the top of Carytown all the way to The Byrd Theatre, cross over and walk back, but Bishop said this year the group is starting at Dixie Donuts and heading down to the Kroger and turning around and ending at The Byrd Theatre.

The walk was originally started in 2005 by Roger Barr. Bishop said Barr based it off of flash mobs that were holding similar events in Canada. Ihe idea was to have zombies walk though a local mall, because what could make for a better scene than zombies in a mall? But things didn’t go quite as planned the first year.

“We were supposed to go to Short Pump Town Center…Roger was getting everybody hyped up and ready to go it was a super small crowd and Henrico Police showed up and they were like, ‘hey if you guys go to the mall you will be arrested for disturbing the peace.’”

Bishop said one of the participants in the walk the first year happened to work at the mall and told his manager who told mall security who contacted police.

From there, Barr decided to move the walk to Carytown and it has been there ever since.

“It was received amazingly,” he said.

Bishop said the next year Barr moved and asked Bishop and fellow zombie walk enthusiast Anthony Menez if they wanted to continue the spooky tradition and they jumped at the chance.

“We picked it up since that second year and it’s been going on super strong and Carytown welcomed us with open arms,” he said. “The idea behind Carytown was that you have a combination of shops, restaurants and people walking around, there’s a movie theater there as well so we thought we would hit a pretty distinct group of people by going there.”

And more and more zombies have come back from the dead each year to participate in the event. The first year Bishop said about 83 people came out.

“tt pretty much doubled, we had 150 the following year,” he said.

Bishop said each year attendance has doubled for the most part and for the past few years between 600 to 700 blood-thirsty zombies have come out to shuffle through the city.

The organizers really set the scene each year to make you feel like you’re living in a zombie flick. In the past, they’ve had “innocent” bystanders turned into zombies and staged mini zombie attacks in Carytown.

“I think one of my favorites was right in front of the Byrd Theatre we did one,” Bishop said. “We attacked the person, underneath their over-shirt they had ripped up clothes and blood packets, they were ready to go. The hoard of zombies masked what was happening while that person was getting made up then they would lay on the ground then a few minutes later that person rose and joined the zombies.”

That’s one of the better surprises Bishop enjoys about the event…you know besides just the sight of watching hundreds of zombies meander around Carytown of course.

In true RVA fashion, there has to be “zombie hunters” as well. In the past, they’ve had people that weren’t part of the event come out and pretend to shoot the zombies.

Every year, the Richmond Zombie Walk hosts a costume contest with awards and prizes for several categories going to those who bring their costume “A” game.

“It is {for} Best Zombie Kid, Best Group theme or Couple, Best Pop Culture reference, Most Disgusting, and Best Zombie Overall,” Bishop said. “Each one of those gets a little prize to go along with that.”

The walk has always benefited the American Cancer Society, which is special to Bishop and Menez. The family-friendly event is free, but donations are welcome to go toward the charity.

Bishop said local Richmond artist Abigail Larson does the posters for the walks so they will be selling her work and the proceeds from that will go to the American Cancer Society.

Afterwards, drag your lifeless bodies down to Capital Ale House’s downtown location for the first official Zombie Prom party, which is put on by RVA Magazine and Capital Ale.

“We are super excited they contacted us this year,” said Bishop who added they’d been dancing around the idea of having some sort of after party for years and finally Capital Ale House came to them wanting to take it on.

There will be craft beer, music, dancing and a special headlining performance by world renowned Violinist Virtuoso/DJ Manifesto and DJ Mass FX. Come dressed to impress for the prom photo booth. The madness begins at 10pm for $15.

Audrey Finney, Public Relations Manager for Capital Ale House said attendees can expect to see lots of creative living dead costumes and other fun festivities.

“With the new improvements to our music hall, we really wanted to bring some more diverse things in such as DJ’s and different types of parties,” said Finney. “I have really gotten excited about décor so there will be lots of fun decorations and a Photo Booth to take your zombie couple pictures!”

Finney said Capital Ale will host a “creepiest couple” costume contest for a $50 gift card to Cap Ale. Hardywood will also be featuring their Halloweek special, Bride of Frankenbier.

“We also have a number of delicious pumpkin and seasonal fall brews as well,” Finney added. The bartenders are also coming up with a zombie-themed punch cocktail that will be revealed that evening.

The 11th Annual Event will be on Saturday, October 24, 2015. Pre-walk meet up/staging area location starts at 1 pm and will be held at Boat Lake at Byrd Park and the actual walk will begin on the sidewalk in front of Kroger at 3507 W. Cary St. immediately after at 2:30 pm.

You can join, invite all your weird friends, and keep up with our #HalloweekRVA events at our page here. And be sure to use the #HalloweekRVA tag on all your photos!

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for RVAMag.com from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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