Church leaders oppose St. Thomas zombie festival

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Anyone who knows anything about zombies, knows you have little prayer of killing them.

But slaying a zombie walk?

Well, two church leaders apparently hope that’s not quite so tough.

If they get their way, the proposed Tom Zombie Festival in St. Thomas would be stopped dead in its tracks.

While hit shows like the post-apocalyptic The Walking Dead have been burning up TV screens, and zombie walks have become all the rage in cities across North America and even in Europe, Pastor Peter Cusick has no interest in seeing people dressed as the undead crawl down St. Thomas streets.

He and another church leader are vowing to quash a bid by the festival organizer applying for a permit to hold the summer event.

“I want this community to be known for its love and family orientation, and its wholesome activities,” he said.

But that amounts to “protesting Halloween,” organizer Bryan Bakker insists.

“It’s all about dressing up and having fun,” he said.

Zombies aren’t just a huge hit at Halloween — they’ve crept their way into pop culture, including in Hollywood horror flicks like Night of the Living Dead, in which the restless lurchers roam the streets looking for brains to eat.

Bakker is headed to city hall Wednesday, hoping to bag a permit to hold his spooky festival. The opponents are expected to argue against it there.

For the record, the only way to kill off zombies is to destroy their brains.

London has had its own undeadly crawl through city streets for several years, with both adults and kids taking part.

Bakker said with its publicity and activities inspired by Hollywood horror, the festival is a celebration of popular culture.

Slated for Aug. 31 at the Elgin Railway Museum on Wellington St., it’s billed as a fun, alcohol-free event for young people.

But there’s nothing fun about it, said Cusick, adding some zombie festivals he’s seen on YouTube are “pretty repulsive.”

He said the rules for some zombie costumes at one U.S. festival suggest leaving a trail of intestines or squirting blood on the actual costume.

But the same rules tell wanna-be zombies to be respectful and to avoid leaving a mess or litter.

Along with holding the event at the museum, Bakker wants a permit to close Mondamin St. several blocks away and next door to city hall for an hour-long ceremony that will officially name “Tom Zombie.”

After that ceremony, participants would move from that spot to the museum, but it would not be an organized zombie walk, Bakker said.

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