Thousands of zombies plan to take over Sacramentos Roosevelt Park on Saturday, and they wont stop there.
The Carnival of the Dead and the Zombie Walk offer opportunities to tear up that old work shirt, splash fake blood on the sleeves and drag a leg down 10th Street toward the Crest Theatre like you and your zombie pals own the place.
The inaugural carnival, starting at 5 p.m., precedes the 14th annual Zombie Walk, which kicks off at 9 p.m. Both are part of the Trash Film Orgy, a weeks-long film festival at the Crest, featuring cult hits like Dawn of the Dead (2004) and The Thing (1982).
At the four-hour Carnival of the Dead, zombie fanatics can eat from local food trucks, play games like bloody dodgeball and become zombified with the help of makeup artists.
While theres plenty for adults to do at this free, all-ages horror-themed celebration, kids are welcome to join in the fun with carnival games like the Shooting Gallery of the Dead, balloon twisting and other activities.
The kids love it, said Christy Savage, Trash Film Orgy and carnival organizer. (Ive seen) zombie babies in strollers chewing on little arms and legs.
Carnival attendees are also invited to do their best zombie shuffle to the music of Tragically White a local band with an eclectic mix of cover tunes. Zombie Elvis is also set for an appearance.
Tragically White will join the festivities by dressing up in full undead attire and makeup, said Jason Friend, who plays bass for the band and sings.
For those who dont want to apply makeup at home before the event, professionals will be on hand at Roosevelt Park to offer detailed, realistic zombie makeovers for about $50, and simpler versions for about $20, organizers said.
Some dedicated zombie-lovers, though, plan to take days preparing for the Zombie Walk by creating their own outfits.
A lot of people will spend a lot of time making prosthetics and costumes, Savage said. Its amazing when they come in groups, too. Those are my favorite.
One recent group that drew attention was a zombie Wizard of Oz crew.
Trucks including the Squeeze Inn and Fuzion Eatz are scheduled to provide food at the carnival (presumably not human flesh or brains) to fuel festival-goers before the shamble to the Crest.
Starting at 9 p.m., the horde will moan and groan down five blocks of 10th Street to the theater for the opening night of the film festival an 18-and-older screening of the director Zack Snyders remake of Dawn of the Dead.
This is the first year the city will shut down a street for the Zombie Walk, another sign of this yearly gatherings growing popularity.
The past few years, about 1,200 people strolled through downtown in full zombie costume. This year, Savage said, the carnival could draw between 2,000 and 3,000 people.
Were hoping for a good turnout, she said.
Those numbers are a far cry from the Zombie Walks humble beginnings, when fewer than 100 people gathered at a bar more than 10 years ago.
We used to do it all guerrilla-style, Savage said. And then the Zombie Walk just blew up and we started getting permits. Now weve got this whole, big, four-hour meet-up with entertainment and games.
Zombies have been experiencing a pop-culture renaissance for more than a decade, assisted by popular TV shows such as AMCs Walking Dead, films such as World War Z and video games such as the Resident Evil franchise.
According to Savage, zombie love transcends gender, age and race.
Its just a fun way to dress up and be gross for the day, Savage said.
Contact The Bees Will Wright, (916) 321-1212.