Zombies invade Uptown Waterloo

(Photo by Jody Waardenburg)

More than 100 people invaded Uptown Waterloo this past Saturday, an unusual crowd characterized by dripping blood, dragging limbs and loud moaning – no it wasn’t the zombie apocalypse; it was simply enthusiasts of the 2012 Waterloo Zombie Walk, an annual event put on by kdub.ca.

Zombie participants could have their makeup done by an artist, check out the Zombie Disposal Unit, have their costumes judged to win prizes and, of course, stagger down King Street in full character as the undead of Kitchener-Waterloo.

John May has been coming out to the Zombie Walk for five years, and brought along his family and co-workers to enjoy the afternoon activities in spite of the rain.

When the event was smaller, he said, it was less formal, and just consisted of people dressing up as zombies and “[walking] into the unsuspecting downtown.”

“It’s very satisfying to see the reactions from civilians,” said May, who was dressed as a self-described “sleepwalker zombie.”

Other notable costumes were a towering scarecrow, a couple of ‘undead’ brides and a zombie who had used makeup and a zipper to give the appearance of  having an “unzipped” face.

Land of the Dead actor Peter Schoelier, who lives in Kitchener, was there as a special guest and assisted in picking out the best costumes for the contest.

For him, dressing up as a zombie is a chance to act and “be someone who you’re not.”

“It’s like Halloween – come early!” Schoelier exclaimed.

Though some had been coming for years or had participated in the Kitchener version of the event, others were experiencing it for the first time, drawn together by curiosity and shared interest in the zombie phenomenon.

Paul Poplawski, a Kitchener resident and first-time participant was dressed as zombie farmer. He expressed his interest in the culture of the undead.

“Zombies are the quintessential predator against man, and not only that, but if you’re prepared for a zombie apocalypse you’re literally prepared for anything,” he explained.

The event, however, is more than just an opportunity to embrace your inner zombie; it’s also used as a fundraiser.

This year’s donations were given  to Nutrition for Learning, a charitable organization which provides support for local nutrition programs for children.

Raffle prizes were available to be won and donations could also be made at a makeup station.

“I’m the charity of choice for zombies, I hadn’t really thought of that. I’m feeling pretty good,” laughed Brian Banks, who was there representing Nutrition for Learning. “I’m really enjoying the atmosphere and how giving everybody has been.”

While Dawn Frey, who was there with her children, acknowledged her support the cause, she admitted it’s also about “just going out and freaking people out, having some fun with the kids.

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