If You Go
What: Fifth annual Gresham Zombie Walk
When: noon, Saturday, Oct. 12
Where: beginning at Center for the Arts Plaza, 488 N.E. Third St., downtown Gresham
When a horde of zombies, a mad scientist, supernatural hunters, corpse witches and other ghouls lurched through the downtown Gresham streets last October, it was more of a dream come true than nightmare for Sunshine O'Connor.
"We dreamed of a walk in Gresham that could benefit our local community and give our friends who were always wishing they could come to the Portland (zombie) walk an excuse to gore up and shamble," she said on the Gresham Zombie Walk blog.
O'Connor and her friend Julie Price founded the Gresham Zombie Walk in 2015, when a modest claque of 10 gradually morphed into a mob of 50 zombies amidst a barrage of sideways rain.
That number has basically maintained in subsequent years as community members climb from their proverbial graves to roam the streets in what's become a dependably creepy pre-Halloween Gresham tradition. Proceeds from merchandise sales go to local charitable organizations.
This fifth annual Zombie Walk will commence at noon on Saturday, Oct. 12, starting at the Gresham Center for the Arts Plaza, 488 N.E. Third St. The shambling parade typically progresses down Powell Boulevard, turning plenty of heads and attracting a lot of photos, before heading to Main Avenue and ending up back at the Arts Plaza, usually with the Gresham Farmer's Market in full swing.
Last year, O'Connor and Julie Price performed a dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" before the walk got going.
Most of the participants in the fourth-annual event had makeup and costumes, with oodles of fake blood, torn clothes and latex. The best part of the event, organizers explained, is that there is no one way to be a zombie.
"It's fun to get made up as a zombie because there is no wrong way to dress up," Price told The Outlook. "I always try out a new look each year, but some like to use the same outfit."
The event was inspired by the Portland Zombie walk, for which both Price and O'Connor had previously volunteered. After hearing from East Multnomah County residents who wanted to avoid the commute west, the two friends decided to hatch a similar event closer to home.
"We decided to bring the zombies to them," O'Connor quipped.
Niall's Zombie Control Service, a group that supports local charity events with a zombie or Halloween theme, plans to return to this year's event to keep the roaming undead and their spectators safe.
"We make sure no one gets hit by cars," said owner Niall Kelly. "We keep the city happy and the whole group safe."
O'Connor praised their efforts.
"We want to give a special shout out to Niall's Zombie Control Service for keeping the zombies safe and the drivers happy," she said. "They know that zombie lives matter."
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