Archive for Thursday, August 15, 2013

KU homecoming parade downtown will herald a zombie invasion

August 15, 2013


All right, college sports odds-makers, here's one for you: the Kansas University football team versus a slow-moving horde of the undead.

Bets? Anyone?

Just kidding. Gambling on college sports is illegal, of course, and zombies much prefer brains to pigskins. But this fall will see the Jayhawks and zombies on the same surf for the first time in NCAA history.

This fall's KU homecoming parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 3 on Massachusetts Street, just one hour before the Lawrence Zombie Walk, a yearly stroll down the sidewalks of Mass. Street by people dressed as the living dead and out to raise money for the Lawrence Humane Society.

Depending on how you figure it, the zombies were here first. The homecoming parade left downtown decades ago, while the Zombie Walk is in its seventh year downtown.

You also have to give the zombies this: They're well-organized.

Harold Agnew, who has organized the walk for the past three years, signed up to reserve the South Park gazebo the day after last year's walk, which he said included about 1,100 zombies plus as many as 2000 spectators.

The homecoming organizers, meanwhile, had the foresight to apply for a right-of-way permit on Mass. Street (which the zombies don't need since they stick to the sidewalk), but not to reserve South Park or check to see if there were any other events scheduled that evening.

But all those delicious brains must make zombies extra reasonable.

"My main goal is that all my people have a good time, that we raise money for charities, and that the KU homecoming is able to have their rally without interference," Agnew said.

Agnew said he sat down with homecoming planners to help ensure that the two events don't run into each other, since the homecoming parade starts as the zombies meet in South Park to prepare for the walk.

From there, the homecoming parade will head down Mass. and then onto Eighth Street for a pep rally. At 7 p.m. the zombies start making their way down the sidewalks of Mass.

Part of the fun of the Zombie Walk is the crowd it draws, Agnew said.

"It's quite a spectator event," he said, adding that the walk was "family-oriented."

The zombies don't want any trouble with the homecoming crowd or anyone else. To that end, Agnew has a list of guidelines to keep his zombies from getting unruly. He also purchases event insurance to protect himself and the zombies from liability damages during the walk.

(Why don't all zombie invasions insure themselves, come to think of it? It could help pay for rebuilding costs post-apocalypse.)

Perhaps the homecoming parade will even bring in new spectators. But Agnew's not counting on it.

"I don't know if the demographics are going to overlap or not," he said.


elliottaw 4 years, 8 months ago

They should move the parade up an hour

George_Braziller 4 years, 8 months ago

I LOVE the Zombie Walk. It's a blast. Any KU parade downtown ---------- big snooze to me.

Phoghorn 4 years, 8 months ago

A KU tradition beats zombie nonsense any day.

Garth Atchison 4 years, 8 months ago

I will avoid downtown at all costs that night.

Jeremiah Jefferson 4 years, 8 months ago

well hopefully no one has any zombie ammunition lol.

DrPaisley 4 years, 8 months ago

"I don't know if the demographics are going to overlap or not," he said.

Have you seen the KU football team the past few years? Zombies would be an upgrade.

Tim Quest 4 years, 8 months ago

Still on that zombie fad, eh Lawrence? Cute, if a little behind the times.

George_Braziller 4 years, 8 months ago

Sort of like witches, dracula, and frankenstein at Halloween? We all know those are soooooooo passe.

chootspa 4 years, 8 months ago

They're apparently still on the homecoming parade fad, too.

kernal 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, FarmeySmac, I guess charity events are a little passe to some.

Paver 4 years, 8 months ago

Went to KU with Harold way back when, and can honestly say he's one of the good guys. No doubt both events will come out just fine.

deec 4 years, 8 months ago

Yup, They're so out of fashion that they are still doing them in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle among many other locations.

Isaias Shannon 4 years, 8 months ago

This bums me out. I am all for either event, and it doesn't bother me personally. However I have two little girls, both LOVE the Jayhawks and would really enjoy the parade and probably want to stay for the pep rally - and my 6 year old is terrified of the Zombie walk and will likely want to avoid the whole thing. Not a good choice for families to combine these two events. Really too bad :(

gatekeeper 4 years, 8 months ago

You should teach your little girls that zombies aren't real. Do you have to hide them on Halloween? There are tons of little zombies at the walk and they're the most fun to watch. Maybe getting to see that other kids are having fun with it would help them get over their fears instead of avoidance.

Isaias Shannon 4 years, 8 months ago

Of course my little girl knows that zombies are not real! On Halloween we do kid/family friendly activities and trick or treating. We went to the zombie walk one year to help her "get over her fear" and she was terrified. One of the zombies came up - very in character, in her face w/ blood dripping down his and screamed in her face about eating her brains. She was 4. I hardly think many four year old would think that is "fun" - needless to say she has a lasting impression of the event as very scary, and probably won't want to be at 8th and Mass when they are all over the street. I am not knocking the event - I think it is great fun and a for a good cause. Just think it is for adults and should not directly follow a KU event that should be for all ages. Poor planning is all. There is such a thing as childhood innocence and I am glad that my girls have it.

elliottaw 4 years, 8 months ago

My kids (5-10) love the zombie walk and have been going for years, it is very kid friendly

Rae Hudspeth 4 years, 8 months ago

Violet, I would take the little ones to the parade, staying in the vicinity of Eighth St, where the pep rally will occur after the parade. The zombies will just be leaving South Park then, and they do move slowly. I'm sure that there will be enough crowd activity at the far end of the block and by then probably will have had enough of downtown that they won't have to see the Zombies on Mass (en masse).
I'm sorry that the zombies scared her, I'm sure that zombie would be very upset to think that they had really terrified a little one. It was thoughtless of that person.

LawrenceZombie 4 years, 8 months ago

Things get scheduled months in advance, parks are reserved for specific times, right of way permits are given for specific times and locations, promises are made to sponsors, dates and times are released online and difficult to take back. Changing dates and times on events like this are not easy.

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 8 months ago

Color me shocked that KU football didn't plan or scout their event properly. Shocked. Certainly that level of disorganization hasn't been reflected in their on-field results lately, right?

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