Calling All Zombies

Residents of Rosendale should brush up on the rules for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

SUNY New Paltz graduate, Lara Hope and co-organizer Elena Brandhofer were inspired by Newburgh’s Psychedelic Zombie Fest three years ago and decided to organize their own festival to celebrate the living dead. The third annual Zombie Fest will be at Willow Kiln Park in Rosendale on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.

A parade is planned for the evening bringing together zombies, zombie hunters and survivors on Main Street. Hope said they will be providing a zombie facepainting booth and a costume contest will also take place.

Hope also said the festival brings together multimedia, live music, poetry readings and film.

She hopes to bring out an older crowd to the festival this year. The events began at 1 p.m. in previous years but after listening to input from attendees, she decided to push it back.

“Both years people told me that they thought it would be a better festival at night,” Hope said. “I saw the way both the Newburgh and the Saugerties zombie festivals went into the night, and I think it is just easier to get more people out later.”

Apart from organizing the festival, Hope will also be performing with her band Tigeriss. The Arkhams, Pitchfork Militia and Nine Inch Elvis are the other bands slated to play. Actor Zach Zito will also read from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

“Zachary is a theatre professional who has donated numerous prizes to the festival since it’s start three years ago,” Brandhofer said. “We are ecstatic that he was able to volunteer his talents to perform this chilling piece for us this year.”

Lead singer for Pitchfork Militia Peter Head said he thinks his band’s music fits the festival’s atmosphere.

“We have a particular upstate brand of music that we like to call ‘Apocabilly’ and well… zombies and the apocalypse seem quite related,” Head said.

Pauline Uchmanowicz, a professor of English at SUNY New Paltz, attended the festival last year and said she likes that the parade is all-inclusive.

“This is the best part of the festival, it’s all ages,” Uchmanowicz said. “It’s just a fun community event.”

Uchmanowicz said she also enjoys watching people parade down Main Street in their homemade costumes and that the costume contest winner is determined by applause.

Vendors will also be selling zombie-related merchandise. Hope said she doesn’t know exactly who will be vending at the festival this year, but that last year’s Zombie Fest included zombie jewelery, comics and stickers. A baker also provided zombie brain cupcakes.

To end the night, Hope and Brandhofer will show the movie “Carnival of Souls” at the Rosendale Theatre.

Hope said she has high expectations for this year’s Zombie Fest.

“This one will be bigger, better, scarier, darker and more fun,” Hope said.