Be afraid. Be very afraid. On Oct. 13, zombies will take over Minneapolis. Minneapolis has survived seven such zombie infestations, but this year’s outbreak could be the most severe yet. It’s time once again for the Zombie Pub Crawl.
Unofficially the largest pub crawl in the world, co-organizer Taylor Carik said the Zombie Pub Crawl has grown from around 100 participants eight years ago to 30,000 last year. The first crawl was held in Northeast, but now the crawl has spread to downtown, the West Bank and St. Paul.
This year, the Zombie Pub Crawl will center around the eastern edge of Washington Avenue downtown (near Grumpy’s) and most of the West Bank and Seven Corners. St. Paul’s Midway Stadium will be renamed “Zombie Island” for the event and feature a full-fledged carnival with rides and a stage with local and national acts such as New Orleans musician Big Freedia and hip hop artist DMX.
A shuttle service will bring zombies back and forth between the two cities.
This year, one of the main events will be an attempt to break the record for the largest gathering of people dressed as zombies. The official record currently stands at 4,093. The Zombie Pub Crawl easily exceeded that number years ago, but the Guinness World Record organization requires more documentation, so a formal counting will happen at 8 p.m. at Zombie Island.
Carik said this year’s Zombie Pub Crawl has several other surprises in store, such as an inflatable 50-foot zombie, multiple concert stages and more. The 400 Bar will feature the world’s largest gathering of Zombie Go-Go Dancers and a wedding at the Seven Corners Holiday Inn is inviting zombies to come dance during the reception. For two weeks prior to the Zombie Pub Crawl, West Bank bars will sell limited edition cans of “Brain Belt Premium” beer, with special can art designed by Zombie Pub Crawl artist Dwitt.
While the Zombie Pub Crawl is a chaotic and messy event, Carik said West Bank bars are thrilled to host the event. It has become one of the busiest days for the area’s bars, which serve exponentially bigger (and thirstier) crowds during the event than normal days.
“If we weren’t such a good economic impact on the West Bank, I doubt we would get any leeway with the city,” said Carik. “We want this to be a net positive for everyone on the West Bank.”
Wristbands are required for all zombies in attendance and are on sale now for $19.99. The price will increase after Oct. 1. Special wristbands for Very Important Zombies (VIZ) are also available for $150. VIZ tickets include a custom tote bag with art by Dwitt, 10 free drinks, reserved access to musical stages and, perhaps most important, VIZ-only luxury bathrooms.
If you plan on attending the Zombie Pub Crawl, Carik has one final, critical piece of advice. “We tell people not to wear any clothes they’re not going to throw away,” he said.