The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

The living dead still walk despite Occupy Calgary protest

Wither thumbZombies were spotted in Calgary over the weekend, as a mass group of slow-moving, undead bodies marched with empty eyes and emotionless expressions throughout our city for the 2011 Calgary Zombie Walk.

With blood drizzling down faces, and guts and bones dangling from bodies, the scene was like a horror movie come to life.

Zowie JonesZowie Jones, organizer of the Calgary Zombie Walk for three years, dressed the part as a grotesque ringleader.

Photo by: Angela Wither
The event, which began at Olympic Plaza on Oct. 15, got help from the Calgary Police Service, moving the route away from the Occupy Calgary protest and towards 17th Avenue.

At around 4 p.m., after two hours of walking, the tired but talkative group finished at Shaw Millennium Park.

Originally founded by Chris Carolan in 2004, the Calgary Zombie Walk has grown substantially in popularity.

According to Zowie Jones, an organizer of the walk since 2008, the walk began simply for the fun of it.

"The best part is the creativity," said Jones, and many agreed. Bystanders watched curiously, honked horns, and broke out their phones for picture opportunities.

While the number of participants cannot accurately be counted, with zombies dropping in and out of the walk all day, Jones said her first year walking had a good turnout, but this year "definitely [had] a lot more people."

Jones said organizers were worried of the numbers because of the Occupy Calgary protest, which drew in hundreds of Calgarians as it moved from Bankers Hall to Olympic Plaza speaking out against political and economic issues.

ZombiesMarcus Crier (left) and Blue Noel walked and terrorized together this past Saturday afternoon for the 2011 Calgary Zombie Walk.

Photo by: Angela Wither
"We were thinking it was going to really take some of the crowd away, but it hasn't really affected the numbers," said Jones.

The increase in interest can be attributed to the mainstream attention zombies have been getting in recent years.

Jack Burton, another volunteer for the walk, said it could be related to the cultural aspect of zombies.

"There's a big cult following for zombies," he said. "Granted there is for vampires and for other things... but you'd never see a werewolf film where there's hundreds of werewolves walking down the street, or hundreds of vampires creeping in the dark. With zombies it's the crowd. It's the mass amount of people. That's why when you have a big crowd of people that are interested in it, it makes it more authentic."

Many of the zombies who came out to walk were excited by the number of like-minded participants around them.

Produced by: Matthew Hayhurst First year walkers Kat Scavuzzo, Rick Debeer, Melisa Duran, and Mike Ross had always wanted to walk as zombies, but never had time until this year. They all agreed it was a great time, and would definitely come again next year, but said there were a couple of issues.

"Planning more of a closed-off route for other years would be better, because when the sidewalks narrow, it gets really tough with everyone covered in blood and prosthetics," said Scavuzzo. "Just a little bit more route planning and it would have been amazing."

Duran made mention of the unmarked intersections, saying, "I think we made a few drivers angry waiting for a mob of people to go by for 20 minutes."

Regardless of Occupy Calgary and perhaps a lack of organization, Burton said, "We worked around [the problems] and had fun.

"Rain or shine, zombies will be here."

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Click here for more photos from the Calgary Zombie Walk