Zombies to get run of Connellsville
With hit television shows such as “The Walking Dead' now making their way into the homes of millions of Americans on a regular basis, a new zombie craze has taken over the imagination of many, incorporating the idea of the creatures into everything from clothing to events.
Playing on the theme of the now popular “undead,” writer and director friends Mark Hofmann and Jeff Monahan decided that a special running event featuring zombies for a little extra fun might just be the ticket for a new tradition in the city of Connellsville.
“Zombies are the big thing right now because classic movies like ‘Night of the Living Dead' and shows like ‘The Walking Dead' have caused a zombie outbreak, so to speak, in pop culture,” Hofmann said. “With zombie runs proving to be a popular event all over the county, it was a no-brainer.”
The event will welcome runners to participate in the event, covering a course of more than 2 miles throughout the city. However, this will not be any ordinary run.
“Runners will have a chance to compete in a different kind of marathon where they not only race against each other, but try to overcome obstacles,” Monahan said. “ And in this case, the obstacles are alive. Well, sort of.”
Participants can opt to run in the event or dress as zombies.
Those who dress as the undead for the event will then be strategically placed along the course where they will then “pop out” at runners, attempting to not only scare the runners, but to try to claim one of the flags that the runners will be wearing.
The event is not only appropriately timed to coincide with Halloween but may act as a draw to the city.
“Earlier this year, I was speaking with Jeff about what we can do to get people coming into Connellsville,” Hofmann said. “We came up with plenty of ideas, but we figured that a zombie run will be a great event to act as a springboard for the other ideas we developed to create a strong cultural hotspot to Connellsville. My brother participated in a zombie run in Philadelphia, and a friend of mine ran in one in Pittsburgh last year. Based on what they told me, I figured it was something we can do in Connellsville.”
The event not only will include the run but will feature fun contests and activities that will add some scary fun to the day.
“The run itself will set off the myriad of events that include the Zombie Olympics, where we will have a competition for the zombie participants that includes a brain-eating contest,“ Hofmann said. “Zombie Idol where the zombies moan songs and judges, who are also contestants, try to guess the song, a scream-queen contest to see which interested female has a worthy scream fit for a horror movie, horror movie trivia and more. The zombies can sign up when they register, but contestant spaces are limited, so zombies are encouraged to sign up early.”
There will also be movies and activities going on in other areas of the city as the entire town joins in the fun to launch an entertaining and exciting new event.
The Carnegie Library will be hosting the children that day, featuring scary story time and crafts from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. then show family friendly scary shows from 2 to 3 p.m.
Starting at 3 p.m. at the library, the facility will air the CD “Haunted States of America-Carnegie Free Library.”
The Connellsville Community Center will be joining in the fun, starting at 4 p.m. with a scavenger hunt, followed by horror movies and fun that will include “Night of the Living Dead,” “Tingler” “Corpsing” and the evening-ender “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 11.
Dr. Castle will join in the fun, and everyone is welcome.
Souvenir vendors will be on hand, and make-up artists will be at the event prior to the run to create that special zombie look for those who register.
Partial proceeds from the day will go to the Connellsville Patriots Club.
“We are delighted that the organizers of the event decided to donate half of the proceeds to the CAHS Patriots Inc.” club founder Linda Shearer said. “I like to think of our group as goodwill ambassadors from Connellsville, and this event will help us continue our mission and show those deployed and our veterans that our community does care.”
The organizers have already decided that the run will now be a new tradition in the city, as they plan to host it annually, and are thrilled with the support that they have received.
“Everyone has been so supportive, from Matty Ritch and everyone at the Porter Theater to city hall and the police department,” Monahan said. “It's really a fun way for people to participate in the arts — from special effects make-up to zombie acting to some quick dance training to film. Next year's event is already in the works.”
Signups for the Oct. 26 run will be held at 110 N. Prospect St. outside of the former Conn-Area Catholic School building.
Signup/same-day registration will begin at 10:30 a.m., and the race will begin and end at that location. The Zombie Olympics/activities will take place around that same area. Vendors will be set up there and also have the option of setting up at the community center for the movie marathon.
Cost to participate is $35.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.