For those who are out of the loop about what is going on in the state of New Jersey. The Undead Festival—a three day event in Asbury Park, NJ—is an event that celebrates the living dead. The festival attracted a zombie crowd; usually not found in that part of the famous boardwalk.
Over a thousand people (do not quote me on that number) came out to shop and interact with their peers at the festival. It is hard to get a head count in a crowd with little walking space, more or less, the privacy to have a quick chat with any zombies. Finding the courage to approach a zombie, a local fellow told me that it took him only twenty minutes to cover his entire face with a grey oil-base.
He described his style as a voodoo zombie, and with torn cloths and blood stained shoes to match, his look was dead on. This subculture (according to tolly the voodoo zombie) is definitely not mainstream. A few famous movies and television shows have had their day—but the zombie movement died off before anyone knew what had happened. Like any grassroots lifestyle, people still relive their fantasies whenever they have the chance. And it is festivals such as this that make these zombies come alive. One pin-up girl and a housewife also believed that The Undead Festival is part of their sub-culture.
If you believe that housewives bicker amongst themselves or that pin-up girls only exist on the right arms of gangsters as tattoos, then you are most definitely wrong. Rachel, the pin-up zombie, stated that “I am going for a look that is non-mainstream since our lifestyle is part of an underground movement”. But given the amount of press coverage at the Undead Festival, it is still a mystery as to why she and tolly feel this way. Last year, exactly 4,093 zombies turned up for The Undead Festival in Asbury Park for a new record in the Guinness Book of World Records. When things like this occur, a sub-culture (The Zombie Lifestyle) can become popular overnight.
A safe environment for the family, The Undead Festival proves how alternative lifestyles can be made fun for all. Besides the free face painting and prizes, the zombies had to walk the entire boardwalk. Too busy to watch them walk (or limp on one leg) for that long, a local vendor invited anyone—with the artistic talent—to sketch zombie models. I am definitely not an artist but that was an experience worth not missing. When this festival rolls around next year, come prepared to bump heads with the living dead.