For the first time in the seven-year history of the walk, money from the event will be donated to Camp Jinka, a Red Bank-based summer program for children and teenagers whose lives have been impacted by brain cancer.
“To help us fight the war against brain cancer, we are calling on the most powerful army we know, the undead,” said Zombie Walk founder Jason Meehan.
The 2014 New Jersey Zombie Walk will kick off Grey Matters, a campaign that spreads awareness about brain cancer.
“We showed what it really means to be strong and we are a community built of many amazing people…or should we say zombies? Are you ready to stumble the streets of Asbury Park in the name of a zombie’s favorite thing….brains?” he said.
Meehan said that Camp Jinka encourages a connection with others who are experiencing life-altering events due to brain cancer. All children at Camp Jinka are New Jersey residents and each camper brings with them a different story.
“Some are fighting a brain tumor themselves, others are trying to help a parent through treatment, some are survivors, but all of them are strong fighters!” he said.
Meehan said that the annual Zombie Walk doesn’t really generate any profit but this year a special “Grey Matter” tent will be set up on the boardwalk, near Second Avenue, that will sell special merchandise and have auctions to raise money.
There will also be a blood drive at the Stone Pony and people are urged to bring canned goods to feed the hungry.
And how many zombies does Meehan expect this year?
“The hardest thing to do is to predict how many people will turn out,” he said.
But Meehan said he expects this year’s crowd to be around 19,000 participants and their friends.
And Asbury Park is the best possible location for the Zombie Walk, he said.
“I don’t think this event would be nearly as successful anywhere else. Asbury Park has the energy, spirit, and cultural vibrancy to bring people to the walk. We love having it in Asbury Park and it bring new faces in every year,” he said.
Last year, the Asbury Park Zombie Walk set the new Guinness Book world-record with 9,592 zombies. The Asbury Park walk also broke the record in 2010 with 4,093 zombies.
“We set the new record last year and that record is still standing,” Meehan said.
No registration is required to participate in this year’s walk and professional makeup artists will be available at the Casino’s Carousel House. The walk’s well-known “Thriller” dance team will also perform.
The walk begins around 4 p.m. with participants gathering on the boardwalk, walking to the Carousel House and then west down Cookman Avenue into the city’s downtown area.
Main stage events and a zombie street fair will be held afterwards in Press Plaza, with a special, blood-red zombie fireworks display held at the beachfront that night.
For more information go to www.njzombiewalk.com.
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