By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Zombies are everywhere this season including downtown Stillwater in the heart of Red Dirt country. The witching hour for Stillwater’s 22nd downtown Halloween Festival, Red Dirt Zombies, is 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.
“We are very excited to see what kind of zombie costumes will be seen at the festival,” Business Improvement District Coordinator Amy Jo Frazier said. “People from all over are expected — from 8,000 to 10,000. We do it just for the fun of it to show that we appreciate everyone shopping downtown.”
The free annual festival includes traditional children’s games, family activities, inflatable games and rides, live music, street entertainers, trick-or-treating with downtown merchants and the annual costume contest, Frazier said.
“Each year, the costume contest is amazing,” she said. “We have lots of categories and age groups, so many people can be recognized. The 2012 festival’s poster features students from the Oklahoma State University Urban Gaming Club in full zombie mode hanging out at Salmon Plaza. We can’t wait to see the groups in the best of theme category.”
If you are too cute to spook as a zombie, the costume contest encourages anything you can imagine. The costume contest line-up will begin at 6:15 p.m. Participants will gather at their age category location, which will be specified on Main Street. The contest begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.
Ghouls don’t have to wait all night for the judging results as trophies and ribbons will be awarded at the age-group judging stands immediately following the contest, Frazier said.
Everything is free but “we are encouraging residents to bring nonperishable food items — canned food, boxes of breakfast cereal, bottles of juice, etc. It’s a good way to help the community,” Frazier added.
“I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” she said, “OSU’s Urban Gaming Club is helping along with leisure science classes. Stillwater Parks and Recreation will also help assure the event is a success.”
The OSU Gaming Club is part of a movement of a complicated game of tag called Humans vs Zombies and members perform community service as part of their club activities, Treasurer Shane Frassato said. They will be face painting and helping with games.
Northern Oklahoma College of Nursing students have generously supplied lots of treats, Frazier said. Participating downtown businesses will be handing out candy and other goodies.
Monsters will be dancing in the street with a “Thriller” flash mob of any ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties encouraged to join the shuffle led by Shelby Eidson from the Art of Dance Studio. The flash mob will chill to the beat at 6 p.m. A medley of other performance pieces will begin at 7 p.m. at the main stage.
The Downtown Halloween Festival is jointly presented by Downtown Stillwater Business Improvement District #1 and the city of Stillwater. The most up-to-date information is available online at http://downtownstw.com.
“The annual Halloween Festival aims to benefit the community by producing a free, safe event for local residents and visitors. By hosting an event with the City of Stillwater, Downtown Stillwater promotes the development of tourism and community awareness by expanding Downtown Stillwater’s reputation as a destination place to attract a broad base of participation,” Frazier said. “Economic development is encouraged by promoting local businesses during the event.”
If the evening is not so boo-tiful, a rain date is scheduled for Halloween night, Oct. 31.