- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 30 September 2015
- Written by CONNOR WHITE | STAFF WRITER
After flatlining over the summer, Asbury Park will be holding its annual Zombie Walk this fall—solidifying that the walk, just like its members, has come back from the dead.
Founded by Jason Meehan in 2008, the Asbury Park Zombie Walk has served as a haven to the undead, breaking the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of zombies in 2010 and 2013 and hosting thousands of participants every year. However, on Aug. 20, its creator posted on the event’s Facebook page that the walking dead would walk no more.
“The New Jersey Zombie Walk has died,” Meehan said on the Facebook page, which has over 19,000 followers. “Its death was not sudden, and every attempt was made to revive the deceased.”
Meehan credited the extreme exponential growth and popularity of the walk to be its true demise and cause of death. He, along with everyone else involved in the creation of the walk, wanted to keep it free to the public so any brain-eater could stroll without having to purchase some kind of ticket or entrance fee. But with the increase of zombies came the inevitable rise in the cost of the walk through safety measures and vendor expenses—a number that became too large for Meehan to continue on.
“I will also eternally be grateful to the Asbury Park Boardwalk for hosting our horde and doing everything possible time and again to minimize what expenses they could,” Meehan went on to say in the social media epitaph. “Above all, the Zombie Walk could never have happened without the help of the countless volunteers, family and friends who collectively have put in tens of thousands of hours of work year after year to make the event happen, never demanding anything more than the good time that they had being a part of the Zombie Walk team.”
But the zombies weren’t finished. Having taken a History of Zombies First Year Seminar class at Monmouth where one of the assignments was to attend the walk, this reporter did see a true sense of community from the large number of participants involved. Ashley Brousell, a senior communication major who has spent the past four years working at Stella Marina and Bar during the Zombie Walk sees that togetherness as well, and was shocked at the news of the August time of death.
“I was pretty upset when I heard it was being declared dead,” Brousell said. “The Zombie Walk is something that Asbury has become known for over the years and is an event that really gets people in the mood for Halloween.”
However, like all good things zombie, the walk has recently risen from the grave. John McGillon, owner of Asbury Park bar Johnny Mac’s House of Spirits, submitted a special events application that was accepted by town officials during a city Chamber of Commerce meeting last Wednesday. The Zombies will continue to march—or, lurk.
“It’s kind of relieving to know that it’s going to continue,” Meehan told NJ.com. “It was a really painful thing to tell 20,000 people over Facebook that you’re killing their favorite holiday.”
The revival of the zombie walk is another leap in the revitalization that has been happening over the past few years in Asbury Park. With the rejuvenation of the stores, apartments and night life has come a feeling of excitement this shore town hasn’t seen in decades.
“It’s more than just a walk for people who dress like the dead; it’s a walk for locals to come together and unify,” Brousell said. “[This is] something they weren’t exactly doing 20-30 years ago.”
This year’s walk will take place on Oct. 3, the original date that was set by Meehan to be the last time the gathering would occur. It will start on the boardwalk around 4 p.m. stocked with its usual event vendors, make-up artists, and of course, flesh-eating zombies.
IMAGE TAKEN from youtube.com