Well, this year's zombie walk is in the books, and that means it's time to do another postmortem (heh.) For photos from the event, check out the official Flickr pool, which has over 300 photos and counting.
Someone has also set up a YouTube playlist with videos from Saturday night. I think this one in particular captures the event pretty well.
Anyway, on to the postmortem.
- The turnout was tremendous. The level of participation at this year's walk exceeded even our highest estimates. I'd wager we had 400-500 people walking, at least triple the number that showed up last year. A big thanks goes out to everyone who attended and put in the effort to zombify themselves. There were some great costumes out there, and I regret that I wasn't able to see them all. Among others, the Bea Arthur zombie cracked me up. As far as I'm concerned, it's never too soon.
Photo by Flickr user kingcool68.
- The movie worked out quite well. There was a capacity crowd which AFI described as the most rowdy they've ever seen. There was a spirited game of brain football prior to the show and during the movie there was plenty of audience participation, particularly when it came to expressing displeasure regarding the tragic death of zombies onscreen. On a side note, I really appreciate how AFI cranks up the volume in their theaters - especially for a loud movie like Shaun. At the Majestic I have to strain my ears just to catch the dialogue.
- The local community was really into the event. The Promenade was lined with onlookers snapping photos and shooting videos. The DTSS people even set up smoke machines to add to the effect. Also, despite our not coordinating with him whatsoever, The Man was extremely accommodating. The MoCo police stationed a few cruisers along the route to ensure that the no one in the zombie horde got their head run over by a car. From what I could tell, the cops were pretty much letting zombies be zombies, not dissuading them from swarming passing vehicles or generally creating mayhem.
- There was a good amount of press coverage of the event, including a news team from (of all places) the Indonesian branch of Voice of America. I noticed they interviewed a lot of zombies for their segment.
Areas for Improvement:
- We really need a bigger gathering space where we can properly marshal the zombie horde. An overcrowded Quarry House was the main issue we had last year, and with even greater attendance the space issue was exacerbated (What does "exacerbate" mean?) this year. People ended up just hanging out on Georgia Avenue as they couldn't fit in either the Quarry House or one of the other nearby restaurants. By the way, there was an epic fail on the part of Piratz Tavern, which, despite advertising specials related to the ZW, didn't seem to be aware about said specials and didn't seem particularly accommodating to zombies. I kind of got yelled at by a staff member when I ventured inside to check out the scene.
Next year, I'd love to have a large dedicated space for Zombies with a DJ, zombie trivia, costume contests, and food and drink. In the unlikely event that the Fillmore would actually be open by that time, it'd be perfect.
- An extended route for the walk. As great as it is to pass through a crowded Ellsworth Dr., I know some people expressed disappointment that the walk didn't last longer. Perhaps next year we'll start earlier and take a route that goes through more of Silver Spring. The key thing is that it needs to go through areas with plenty of unsuspecting pedestrians and businesses that can be terrorized. Through the Metro station, perhaps? (Someday the walk will pass through City Place.)
- Greater capacity for the post-walk movie. The entire 400-seat main theater at the AFI was sold out before the walk even started. AFI was able to add an overflow showing at 11:45, but I'm sure there were a lot of people who couldn't attend something that late. Optimally, we would have simultaneous screenings in all three of AFI's theaters of whatever movie is scheduled next year. Perhaps we could even give people a choice of three Zombie flicks. (Even better idea: an all-day Zombie film festival!)
Overall, I think the event was quite successful. If you've got suggestions for next year's walk, post them in the comments here or shoot me an email. To receive details on next year's walk as they become available, join the Silver Spring Zombie Walk Facebook group or follow our Twitter feed.
Special thanks to the following for making the Zombie Walk a success: AFI Silver Theatre, The Quarry House Tavern, Montgomery County Police Department, Axion (for hosting the website), The Peterson Cos., Brian Hefele and Alex Coblentz (for their poster design), and especially to all of you who showed up on Saturday - without you, there is no Zombie Walk. If I forgot anyone, I apologize!