Who doesn't love to dress up as a zombie and stagger around? Even better, who doesn't love to dress up as a zombie and stagger around ... for a good cause?
Folks will have the opportunity to do both of those things - ACES North America (Advancing Communities by Educating and Serving) will hold their first ever Zombie Fun Run and Walk at 4 p.m. Oct. 26. The 5K will take place at Indian Park in Montoursville, with registration beginning at 2:45 p.m.
ACES North America is a unique local organization that exists to help the Dominican Republic - and they have decided to jump on board with the popular zombie trend and hold a zombie walk to "stagger for the Dominican Republic."
Being the first event of its type for the organization, Caroline Payne, organizer and coordinator for the 5K, said that the idea came from the brainstorming of one of the many college students involved in ACES. Payne is an assistant professor of political science at Lycoming College.
"Until now, our volunteers specialized in more traditional fundraisers, but Caroline and other 'new blood' in the organization have energized us to new ventures," said Linell Stabler, ACES president.
They're shooting for a record-breaking fundraiser in addition to increased exposure.
"We knew we wanted to host the 5K during the fall season, so we first focused on Halloween and then, of course, on zombies, since they are so incredibly popular right now," she said.
Don't fret though if you don't have the talent or supplies to turn yourself into a zombie. Professionals from the Lycoming College theatre department will be on site turning folks into zombies for a small fee.
"We are very lucky to have a talented costume and makeup professor, Tiffany Towns, and an equally as talented group of theatre students who were gracious enough to volunteer their professional services," said Payne.
Of course, runners-walkers-staggerers don't have to dress up, but Payne thinks most will, since it adds to the fun element of the run.
The run has many options for all types of the undead, including a timed run option for the more competitive and a Kids' Run.
"We recognize that 5Ks attract a wide variety of people: competitive runners, those that we call 'fun runners' and then, of course, those who prefer to walk. And we really wanted to create a race to accommodate all of those people," Payne said.
For the more competitive, there will be awards based on the time it takes to complete the race, and also for those there just for fun, there will be costume and "survivor" awards.
"Each participant will receive three flags to wear while they run/walk, and it is the goal of the zombies to take those flags. If they return with the flags intact, they are then considered a survivor and will receive an award for such a feat," Payne said.
Whether it's competitive or just for fun, the undead runners can be thrilled that they're helping a great cause.
"Our organization works in the Dominican Republic and so all of our fundraising efforts go toward supporting those projects," Payne said.
In the past ACES North America has provided clean water, built a three-story school, planted an orchard and started a greenhouse, and coordinated with communities to provide economic opportunities because unemployment is very high in the DR.
Proceeds from this 5K will support such projects.
"Specifically, the funds that we hope to raise will be used to refurbish a former baseball academy right in Santo Domingo to use as a community center and base for all of our Dominican development projects. It will also serve as the lodging for our many service 'voluntour' groups that travel to the Dominican Republic throughout the year," said Stabler.
Recently, the ACES shipped 40,000 pounds of medical, educational, sports and household equipment to the Dominican Republic. Through the zombie walk, they hope to replenish some of the funds that were used for that shipment.
"I completely understand the view that Americans should only help Americans, but with increased global understanding our world is indeed getting smaller and our cultural and societal boundaries are becoming more and more blurred," Stabler said.
Payne hopes that there will be a good turnout of at least 75 zombie stagerrers. She thinks, at this point, that they're on track to meet that goal.
Oh, and for those that are scared of zombies ... fear not.
"Well let's just say the zombies should motivate people to move a little faster, but will certainly not pose any real risks," Payne said.