The dead walked among us
Article: Allan Hall – Distributor Manager
If you were in downtown Regina on Sep 22, chances are you saw more than 150 people shambling around the city dressed up as the undead for the 6th Annual Regina Zombie Walk.
For those of you that don’t know, a Zombie Walk is really unique event where like-minded zombie enthusiasts congregate together and walk around the city. The first officially recognized Zombie Walk happened in October 2003 in Toronto that featured six zombies. In the mid to late 2000s, there was an exponential growth in the number of Zombie Walks throughout North America due to the increasing of popularity of zombies in mainstream popular culture.
Cassie Ozog, a former graduate student at the University of Regina who completed her master’s research about zombies in popular culture, believes that the rise of the popularity of zombies is related to society’s fears about our current global environment.
“I think that zombies and what they represent is a total destruction of society. So in this weird way, we tend to go and escape into things that are almost so ridiculous because it becomes a little bit easier to explore those ideas than just picking up the newspaper and reading about all of the things that are going on. … Zombies rise in popularity at this time when we have all these competing fears and things happening in society, and now they have kind of stuck around because people love them.”
A majority of Zombie Walks throughout Canada have a charitable component to them. It is quite often that they are tied into a charitable cause that is related to food insecurity, which is very strangely appropriate. The Regina Zombie Walk partners with the Regina Food Bank for its event. The Zombie Walk is one of the largest food drives that happens in the city. Last year’s Zombie Walk raised over 3,330 pounds worth of non-perishable food items for the food bank and it’s expected that this year’s Zombie Walk will exceed that.
“Well, first and foremost, I really appreciate that they are giving donations to the food bank. I think that is really important and that this is a really creative way to go about doing so. And, of course, it’s also a really fun time and a good excuse to dress up like a zombie,” says Bianca Hatin, a zombie enthusiast that’s been participating in the Regina Zombie Walk since its inception in 2008.
The event also attracts a sizeable crowd of spectators and photographers. While many are initially confused about the event, their looks of confusion quickly turn into smiles as they take pictures with their phones and cameras.
“I love to watch the Zombie Walk in Regina. I don’t dress up or anything. I like to go sit and just watch all the zombies come towards you. And as much as you know that it’s fake there’s a little movement where it’s kind of scary. That’s what makes it fun,” says Ozog who regularly watches the Zombie Walk.
The zombie culture is incredibly active in the Regina region and the Regina Zombie Walk isn’t the only event where zombies congregate. In May, Fort Qu’Appelle hosted the first Zombie Prep Camp, a zombie themed survival camp that taught its participants basic survival skills. On Sep. 28, the Regina Queen City Kinsmen will be hosting the Zombie Obstacle Challenge. This is an event that combines a 5 km long distance race with zombies and obstacles. Last year, Moose Jaw held its own Zombie Walk for the first time.
“I think that the community is fantastic. There has always been a strong community here. I’ve talked to filmmakers and they’ve said that Regina’s always been a hotbed of zombie activity. I think that events like the Zombie Walk prove that there is a market for that type of thing and I think that it’s awesome that we have things like the [Zombie] Prep Camp and the [Zombie Obstacle Course] to continue to raise awareness and to get people involved and really excited,” says Ryan Holota, the organizer of the Regina Zombie Walk.