Legions of undead will once again descend upon the Grand Strand as the 4th annual Myrtle Beach Zombie Walk takes to the streets Saturday.
The event, in which attendees pay $5 to be made up like zombies and stroll through downtown Myrtle Beach, is designed as a way to get local and regional residents interested in raising money for charity.
Schedule of Events
All times subject to change
- Friday 9 p.m. - Zombie Walk Pre-Party, Island Bar and Grill Surfside
- Saturday 11 a.m. - Registration begins, Fresh Brewed Coffeehouse
- 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Band Meet & Greet, Corsair Comics
- 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Feast of Flesh, Sneakers Bar & Grill
- 5 p.m. - Zombie Walk begins
- 5:30 p.m. - “Thriller” dance
- 6 p.m. to midnight - After party, SneakersBar & Grill
- 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. - After party, Bikini Beach Bar
- 6:15 p.m. to 11 p.m. - After party, Fresh Brewed Coffeehouse
- 7 p.m. - Piercing contest, Bikini Beach Bar
- 8 p.m. - “Worst Tatoo” contest, Sneakers Bar & Grill
“We’re trying to tap into a demographic of people that are untapped as far as charity events go,” said Zombie Walk organizer Brandi Matkins. “The tattooed, freaky masses of the world have money too and they want to get involved, but there wasn’t anything out there that appealed to them.”
She says that by making something fun and different that these folks can enjoy, the event aims to give participants plenty of entertainment in exchange for their donation.
“It’s fun to dress up. And it’s fun to get stared at and walk around and have people point at you and wonder what you’re doing,” she said.
Matkins, now in her third year putting together the event, runs a small business with her sister and has been doing booking and promotions around the area with her company RiotGirl Entertainment for the past seven years.
“I was doing booking for Fresh Brewed Coffeehouse bringing in a lot of punk bands,” she said. “That’s how I got involved with zombie walk. They called me to bring in some music the first year and then when they decided not to do it again I just picked it up and tried to run with it.”
And run with it she has.
“This is becoming way bigger than I ever dreamed,” said Matkins.
After contributing to The American Cancer Society and The Low Country Food Bank in its first two years, the event has grown each year, drawing about 250 participants and raising more than $1,500 for The Grand Strand Humane Society in 2010.
“Working with the humane society last year gave us major recognition because they do such a great job raising awareness,” she said. “It really launched us into a whole different demographic and helped us get a lot more visibility this year.”
This year’s event is expected to draw at least 500 participants and will benefit The Autism Advocate Foundation of Horry County.
More than just a walk
In addition to the main event, this year’s walk features plenty of activities to keep folks busy both before and after.
Matkins says some of the earlier events cropped up out of a necessity to keep people busy during the registration process, which will take place from 11 a.m. until the start of the walk at 5 p.m.
“I had tried to get a permit for the parking lot between Fresh Brewed [Coffeehouse] and City Hall to give people something to do while they waited, but that didn’t work out,” she said.
Instead organizers will rely on events such as a band meet and greet session at Corsair Comics and The Feast of Flesh — a lunch special with live music at Sneakers Bar & Grill — to fill the time.
Other events happening throughout the day include a “Worst Tattoo” contest, “Most Interesting Piercing” contest, a choreographed “Thriller” dance, a zombie wedding — complete with actual bride and groom, art exhibits and more.
Parties bring live music to the dead
Once the walk concludes, the real party begins with three venues, Fresh Brewed Coffeehouse, Sneakers Bar & Grill and Bikini Beach Club, all hosting after parties packed with live music.
In all, more than 30 acts ranging from acoustic to punk and metal will take part in Zombie Walk festivities including seven at Friday night’s pre-party at the Island Bar & Grill in Surfside.
Highlights include local bands such as The Independents, Prowler and The Mizfits as well as out-of-town acts such as Insides Out — a defunct Jacksonville, N.C., band who will reunite specifically for the event — and Vagora, who will make the trip all the way from Rhode Island.
“We’ve been trying to get The Independents on since we started and they’ve always been on tour at this time, but this year they’re going to be on the bill and I’m super excited about that,” said Matkins.
While all three venues figure to be packed with zombies, Matkins says that she arranged the entertainment to provide a different feel for each party. While Fresh Brewed will provide a smoke-free, family-friendly spot for more laid back acoustic music, the other two bars will provide more of a party atmosphere with mostly metal and punk acts.
“Most of the local bands will be at Bikini Bar and most of the out-of state and regional groups will be at Sneakers,” she said.
Building on success
Though Saturday’s is expected to be the biggest event yet, Matkins and her fellow organizers know that one zombie invasion doesn’t make for a successful apocalypse.
“I’ve already started planning a Zombie Prom in January,” she said. “We’d love to use some of the momentum we’ve gained with our zombie walk page to launch more charity events in the future.”
In addition, she hopes that events such as this will debunk a perceived lack of culture in the area and help build up the local music scene.
“There’s always going to be a group of people that want something bigger and better, but really the only problem with Myrtle Beach is that the venues keep on closing down,” she said. “The people are just as passionate as the music as they have always been and this sort of thing proves it.”
“We’re hoping this will help to awaken the music scene in Myrtle Beach,” she said. “Anything any of us can do to help bring people back out to shows is definitely a good thing.”