Zombies will be staggering around the Healdsburg Plaza and taking over downtown sidewalks on Oct. 16 for a new charity event called the Sonoma County Zombie Movement, which aims to raise funds for the National Brain Tumor Society and the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
The event won’t actually feature real zombies, rather community members dressed up in their best zombie wear and makeup.
The idea for the lively event was conceived by New York transplant Angelica Cobb Parker, who was searching for a Sonoma County zombie walk event that she and her son could participate in after attending several large undead events in the east coast.
“Ten years ago I moved to New York. I was a single mom and had no family or friends in New York and was looking for a meetup group and trying to think of something to do with my son and we happen to love costuming and Halloween and we found an event that was specifically for zombies and it was talking about charity and I thought, ‘That seems like fun,’” Cobb Parker said.
After discovering the New York event, her and her son pulled out some ripped jeans and shredded up a shirt and attended the event in full zombie attire.
“We arrived and we were one of thousands of zombies. It was put on by a daughter whose mother had brain cancer and so she had started it for that reason and ever since then, I kept going with my son and had enjoyed it,” Cobb Parker said.
Cobb Parker recently moved back to California to the Healdsburg area and looked for a similar charity event.
“It was the first thing I looked for and I couldn’t find it, so I started my own, which then morphed into, ‘Why don’t I do this as a business and start a nonprofit?’” she said, and that is exactly what she did.
“There are so many other locations that don’t have anything like this and we can raise awareness for the National Brain Tumor Society, Vitalant Blood Bank and also the Redwood Empire Food Bank,” Cobb Parker said.
She said while the event gives people a chance to donate to various nonprofits, it also gives people a chance to be creative and embrace their true selves.
“The reason I’ve become addicted to it is because giving feels good, but (being) a zombie to me is also a feeling. A zombie can be someone who feels like they have too much grey hair, or they have too many wrinkles, or they’re in a depression, or when you come out of the gym and you feel like a zombie, or when you’re looked at in a different light,” she said.
In other worlds, being a zombie and being with fellow zombies is a non-judgemental zone where you can be yourself.
“On the zombie walk people come out as who they are. They add more grey, they add more wrinkles, etc. We go out as who we are and that is OK, so to me, that’s what a zombie is, it’s not particularly what you see on ‘The Walking Dead,’” Cobb Parker said.
The event will start out at the West Plaza Park/Foss Creek walkway on North Street at 2 p.m.
“It starts at West Plaza Park and we’re going through the walkway by the hotel down Healdsburg Avenue to the roundabout and back up Healdsburg Avenue,” Cobb Parker said.
The group of zombies will circle the Plaza and then walk down Matheson Street and up Center Street and will turn onto North Street and walk back to the West Plaza Park area.
She said they will be going with the flow of traffic, which is especially important since someone has signed up to do the zombie walk on a horse.
“We changed our route for the horse,” Cobb Parker said with a laugh.
After the walk, they’ll do a costume contest with several different categories including “2021 overall best costume,” “best adult costume, 1st and 2nd place,” “best group costume, 1st and 2nd place,” “best teen costume (13+), 1st and 2nd place,” and “best child costume (12 and under), 1st, 2nd place and 3rd place.”
There will also be a raffle, zombie dance lessons and a “Thriller” flash mob.
Tickets are $25. A small portion of the ticket sales will go toward the market of the event and 100% of the remaining ticket sales will go toward The National Brain Tumor Society.
To sign up, or for more information, visit the event website.