BY LAUREN KEENE
The time, October. The year, 2019. Our planet is moving toward its winter solstice. Zombies have risen, not to walk the Earth, but to ride bikes on it!
Join the masses in putting on Davis’ first-ever Zombie Bike Parade, a community event planned for Sunday, Oct. 20, at Central Park.
Dressed in their undead best, participants will ride a roughly two-mile route from the park onto the UC Davis campus, then through downtown Davis back to Central Park, where they can enjoy live music, food trucks, games, a photo booth, the Square Tomatoes craft fair and a Michael Jackson “Thriller” flash mob.
“It gives people a chance to have fun,” said Dave Rosenberg of the Davis Odd Fellows, which along with The Bike Campaign is organizing the event.
Davis is no stranger to bicycle parades. In fact, the city once held the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest bicycle parade featuring bikes in a single-file line.
“It just occurred to me that zombies are popular, Halloween is coming up and people love bikes,” Rosenberg said, describing how the idea came to life. “It all just clicked.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit NorCal Trykers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing custom tricycles to children with special needs.
“It gives these children freedom,” Rosenberg said. “They can be mobile for the first time ever.”
To chair the parade, the Odd Fellows enlisted one of its members: Aaron Wedra, a Davis Enterprise ad rep and graphic designer and Davis Chamber of Commerce ambassador.
“I was dying to do it,” said Wedra, a zombie enthusiast whose favorite pastimes include watching “The Walking Dead” and playing “Call of Duty: Zombie Maps.”
Organizers are aiming for a herd of 500 riders. At first, they’d hoped to set a new world record with the event, but Guinness declined the proposed zombie bike parade category.
Still, “by the time they said ‘no,’ we had so much community support that we never lost enthusiasm for a second,” Wedra said.
Indeed, planners have dug up more than 35 sponsors/collaborators so far, with major contributions coming from the Davis Cemetery and Arboretum, Davis Professional Firefighters Local 3494, Ink Monkey, Smartz Graphics and Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza.
As with any community event, there are a few rules to follow. All parade participants must look zombie-like and ride their bikes from start to finish while saying “brains” at both ends of the route. For more specifics, and for tips on appearing risen from the dead, click the “rules” link at www.zombiebikeparade.com.
Don’t have a bike? Jump Bikes, one of the event collaborators, will have a collection of its bikes on hand to rent at the park. Don’t want to ride? That’s OK, too. “Just show up to the park for vendors, games, a green screen photo booth and fun,” Wedra said.
Always wanted to be part of a flesh, er, flash mob? Davis’ Mirror Image Dance Company will perform Michael Jackson’s zombie-centric “Thriller” dance at the end of the parade, and those wishing to join them are invited to a free rehearsal from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the MIDC studio, 2121 Second St., Suite A-106.
Meanwhile, organizers are planning for a family-friendly event that, despite its focus on the walking dead, won’t be too overwhelming for the little ones. Children are encouraged to attend, as well as pets.
“It’s going to be exciting, without a doubt, but it’s not going to be too scary,” Wedra said.