Hear Philly: Zombies Take Over South Street Easter Sunday

By Andrew Kramer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eggs, bunnies and chocolate….those are some of the things people usually associate with Easter.

But for the last decade in Philadelphia, there’s been another thing that’s become synonymous with the holiday: zombies.

“The Philly Zombie Crawl began in 2006 as a small crawl on South Street,” explains coordinator and head zombie Robert Drake. “That grew from 100 people to 300-400 people relatively quickly, and we started doing some other zombie events throughout the year, so this is our tenth anniversary of the original crawl which we do each Easter.”

Drake says makeup artists will be on hand at various bars and some outside the bars to get those participating “zombiefied” for the crawl:

“We’ll be gathering at Starr Garden at 6th and Lombard around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and then around 5:30 we’ll march over to South Street and down South.

(Credit: Spark Wilkens)

(Credit: Spark Wilkens)

The way the parade is set up this year, Drake says, zombie packs will kick things off:

“A pack basically means four or more zombies in a pack and they have to have one, unified theme and we’ll be awarding prizes to the best zombie packs. And then after that there will be a zombie horde, which basically anyone who wants to be a zombie joins at the end of the parade to wrap things up.”

Once the parade is over, people start participating in a bar hop, also featuring a few restaurants welcoming the zombies with brain food specials throughout the evening.

As far as the costumes go, Drake says they feature more than just a few cuts on the face:

“I was pretty amazed. We started the Zombie Crawl before The Walking Dead, before much of the zombiemania, and that first year people really went out of their way to get dressed up. And every year, people come out of the woodwork, not only dressed as zombies, but dressed as zombies in some sort of fashionable theme.”

An example from a past crawl includes the cast of Scooby Doo dressed as zombies among other unusual ideas.

The fact that the Philly Zombie Crawl takes place on Easter Sunday is no coincidence, Drake says:

“This began sort of thinking people were talking about Easter sort of being, of course, a very religious day for many, and for some, it doesn’t mean anything religiously, but we decided Easter also is the day, in many cases, the world’s most famous zombie rose from the dead, so why not celebrate zombies on Easter?”

 (Credit: Spark Wilkens)

(Credit: Spark Wilkens)

Overall, Drake says, this is truly a unique experience to don’t want to miss out on:

“It’s rare you get to walk around with blood on your face and not have to deal with the police, so I think this is an opportunity to have some fun and now, everyone seems to want to be a zombie, so I think this is an opportunity for an all-family gathering in a fun way to really cap off Easter weekend on South Street.”

Costume prizes range from TLA show tickets to prize packs from the South Street Headhouse District.

For more information and to see a full list of participating bars you can visit www.phillyzombie.com.

Listen to podcasts any time at hearphilly.com.

Follow hearPHILLY on Twitter: @hearPHILLYradio.

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