Disappointing the town's legion of brain-starved undead, the annual Ashtober Zombie Walk has been postponed until next year. After an unprecedented turnout last year, likely due in part to vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's concurrent Asheville appearance, city staff applied regulations that were prohibitively expensive for its organizers, says Ashtober Zombie Walk founder Dan Burrello.
But zombies are resourceful, it seems, and are planning other zombie events: An Oct. 16 pub shamble will start at Westville Pub at 9 p.m., with other possible happenings at the Root Bar and the Garage at Biltmore (stay tuned to www.mountainx.com for updates).
Last year's walk had already been planned (it was, after all, part of World Zombie Day) when Palin announced that she would be coming to town on that same day. The zombie craze had already been burgeoning in Asheville after a couple of previous zombie walks. But last year saw a surge in the number of zombies moaning and dragging themselves through the streets of Montford and downtown. Dozens of zombies gathered in front of the Civic Center, where Palin was speaking. National news featured the unlikely mash-up.
"We looked down the road on Lexington. It was like Cecil DeMille; it was insanity," says Burrello of the zombie mass. "More and more people joined us as we were walking."
Burrello is a former employee of Asheville's Parks and Recreation department, and he wasn't entirely surprised when the city dropped the news: Hundreds of zombies need a city permit (and insurance, public-safety staff and so forth). "They weren't unfriendly about it," Burrello says of the e-mail he received after asking to rent the Montford Community Center, as the zombie walk had done in years past.
And he knew the walk was "a little bit huge," he says.
"Zombies are monstrous now, they're big," he says, citing the recently published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, among other cultural phenomena.
So what's a hungry brain-crazed member of the undead supposed to do in Asheville this year?
Along with the pub shamble, Burrello is calling for Friday, Oct. 16, to be Zombie Day in the city. "To show that zombies can live amongst us peacefully," he's encouraging folks to "come to work, go eat lunch, go to the ball game, as a zombie."