‘Undead’ invade Main Street in downtown Merced during Art Hop

Downtown Merced looked more like the set of “The Walking Dead” Saturday night as a zombie horde descended upon West Main Street during Art Hop.

Fortunately, the herd of decomposing ghouls turned their attention from pursuing the living and instead participated in the myriad of Halloween-themed activities available for people of all ages, such as face painting, raffles and craft-making.

The event included a “Zombie Walk” that would have made George Romero proud, in addition to a flash mob/dance re-enactment of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance video, which was coordinated by Dance Sauté. Art Hop also included the premiere of “The Marquee Lights,” a 20-minute independent film by local filmmakers Julie Strong, Jason Ryder and Heather Strong. The film was shown at the Merced Multi-Cultural Arts Center.

Saturday’s event marked the fifth anniversary for Art Hop, which is supported through fundraisers, advertising, donations from the community and a contribution from the city. In August, a fundraiser for the event at the Merced Civic Center brought in about $2,000 for the nonprofit organization.

The event is one of the city’s busiest nights downtown, with an average of about 2,500 people showing up to experience it, according to organizers. Art Hop is held four times a year, in January, April, July and October in downtown Merced on the third Saturday of the month.

The next Art Hop is scheduled for Jan. 18. For more information about the event, visit