Phoenix's Zombie Walk event laid to rest

- For the past seven years tens of thousands of zombies have roamed the streets of downtown Phoenix. The Zombie Festival has grown more and more popular every year. But organizers are driving a stake through it. In 2009, it started as a free family event, and it's grown from 200 to 20,000 people. So why get rid of a good thing? The organizers say their resources would be better spent on other events.

"In 2009 when this event started with 200 people, downtown didn't have a lot of family friendly all day festivals... we built and built, and it turned into this monster, no pun, of an event," said R.J. Price with Downtown Phoenix Inc.

A monster that organizers say is no longer necessary. Now that downtown Phoenix has boomed, the downtown events calendar is filled. What began as a creative marketing scheme to get people downtown is now becoming a drain on resources.

"Budgets are budgets. It does cost a lot of money to put the event on. Some people asked, why don't we charge for a ticket? That seems like a fix, but it was important for us that the event keeps its roots that it's family friendly, and it's free," said Price.

Last year the Zombie Walk raised 22,000 pounds of food for St. Mary's Food Bank. But the food bank says there is so much going on in downtown now that they're not missing out on anything.

"The Zombie Walk was a win-win, and the spinoff from the Zombie Walk helps St. Mary's in immeasurable ways," said Jerry Brown with the St. Marys Food Bank.

He says other downtown events like CityScape's holiday ice skating rink have raised thousands of pounds of donations for the food banks. As many mourn the death of the zombie walk, others are hopeful it won't be the end.

"I do think zombies are really popular, and somebody in some form, the undead will rise again," said Brown.

Last year Zombie Walk cost organizers more than $50,000 to host. Downtown Phoenix organizers say if another group wanted to come forward and sponsor the Zombie Walk, they'd be more than happy to hand over the reigns.

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