First ‘Zombie Walk’ frightful success
The inaugural Fort Frances “Zombie Walk” here Sunday afternoon turned out to be such a success that it’s sure to return from the grave next year, bigger and badder than ever.
The walk drew more than 40 participants—ranging from infants to teens to adults who still are kids at heart—who shuffled and crawled around the central part of town, no doubt drawing the attention of passing motorists.
“There was a lot of happy faces out there, not that you could tell—everybody was in makeup,” he smiled.
“There [were] a lot of great costumes, like the guy over there in the hazmat suit [Dallas Gervais]. That’s pretty cool,” noted Yerxa.
“You could tell that a lot of the people that showed up put a lot of work into their costume.
“And I am happy that everybody stayed safe,” he added.
Yerxa was glad to see the zombie walk drew people “from all walks of life” and “brought a lot of the community together.”
“And that’s one of the goals for this, so I am happy with that,” he remarked.
Yerxa said one highlight was when the zombie horde stopped at the open lot on Central Avenue, between First and Second Street East, to shoot a mini-movie pitting a trio of survivors and zombie hunters against a swarm of the living dead.
“I thought that was pretty cool. Everybody got into character and we ‘shot’ some zombies—literally,” he chuckled.
Yerxa said he was “extremely happy with the turnout,” and inspired by participants’ enthusiasm to start planning for a bigger, better zombie walk next October.
“As we were walking, I heard a lot of the kids saying, ‘Next year, next year, next year. We’re going to do this, we’re going to do that.
“‘We’re going to bring a [fake] body in and rip it apart.’
“Now I have to do it next year,” added Yerxa. “Now that we know there’s a big interest, I think we can go and maybe plan for a charity walk, a walk for hunger or something like that.
“And we can probably plan events a little bit better,” he admitted.
“It’s going to be a lot better next year,” he pledged.
Yerxa also thanked Fr. Wayne McIntosh and St. John’s Anglican Church for use of the building for this year’s event.
Co-organizer Alex Bruyere also was thrilled with the event’s success.
“It went really great. A lot bigger than I anticipated, but this is great,” he remarked.
“I was surprised.”
Jason Gervais, who participated along with his wife, Cherish, eight-month-old daughter, Araya, and brother, Dallas, said he loved the event.
“It’s great to have something like this go on,” he remarked. “It’s good to surprise people, walk around, and get a reaction from the community.
“It’s something I am very enthused about,” Gervais added. “I have always loved zombies and they seem to be kind of on a spike now, kind of popular.
“It’s good to see everyone enjoying something I have enjoyed my whole life.
“No one’s afraid,” he stressed. “We even have an eight month-old here who’s just as enthusiastic as us.
“It’s really good,” Gervais said. “I’ll definitely be back next year and try even harder [to have the best zombie costume].”
Gervais won the prize for best costume at the zombie walk, admitting he didn’t have to start from scratch putting his look together for the event.
“I’m a bit of weirdo,” he conceded. “My house always looks like Hallowe’en.
“I’ve got a zombie torso that’s always in my sun room, my little hangout area.
“My house always looks like it’s set up for a Hallowe’en party,” he continued. “There’s skeletons and zombies everywhere.
“This is the first time I ever tried it like this, so there was a few things that I had to grab,” Gervais added. “But I work in seasonal at Walmart, so I basically just had to grab the stuff I work with every day.”
Cheryl Tibbs and her daughter, Joelle, also gave the zombie walk a thumbs up.
“I think it’s fun,” said Cheryl Tibbs. “We watch ‘The Walking Dead’ each Sunday anyway, so it kind of ties into that.
“It’s fun for the kids,” she added. “It was fun for adults, too, and it was nice to see this many people turn out.”
“It’s fun putting on the makeup and that, just choosing costumes and being whatever,” echoed Joelle Tibbs.
“Next year, I will dress up,” noted Cheryl Tibbs. “It was fun, for sure.”
Kaayla Fox, who walked along with her friends, Charlotte Bombay and Oryn Albanese, agreed the event was a scream.
“I thought it was really fun,” she remarked. “It was cold, but it was really entertaining to see everyone’s reactions to us walking down the street.”
“I thought it was really a lot of fun,” said Albanese. “I really hope we do it again next year. It’s something that I had been looking forward to.
“I was planning to go down to a bigger city to do it but now that I heard we had one, I was stoked about it,” he added.
“I was just cold,” laughed Bombay. “Lack of clothing, not good.”
“I would totally do it again. I love the whole zombie idea,” said Fox, adding neither she nor Bombay are strangers to dressing up as zombies or other characters and running around Fort High just for fun.
Starting at St. John’s, the group proceeded west on Church Street, turning right onto Central Avenue, then down to Second Street and east to Victoria Avenue, returning to the church.
After the walk, participants shuffled into the basement of St. John’s for “zombie snacks,” ranging from eyeball truffles, finger cookies, and brain cupcakes to less ghoulish fare such as egg salad sandwiches and hotdogs.