COPPERAS COVE — Downtown was overrun with the undead Saturday during the city’s first-ever Zombie Walk and Fall Festival.
More than 200 zombies staggered — in true “Walking Dead” style — from the Cove Terrace Shopping Center to downtown before participating in the fall festival.
The festival featured more than 85 vendors who set up shop along Avenue E and South Main Street. Six bands performed throughout the day.
“This was my opportunity to give back to the community, and let people know that downtown still exists and that there are businesses down here,” said Tanya Balderrama, owner of We-Deliver Copperas Cove.
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce, and We-Deliver Copperas Cove and We-Deliver Killeen hosted the all-day family event, which collected canned goods and monetary donations for the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen.
The zombie walk kicked off the morning’s activities at 9:30, but the day started at 6 a.m. for those wanting assistance making the transition to zombie with the help of professional makeup artists.
“I have had an affinity for zombies ever since I was kid, so this event was a good fit for me,” said Daniel Kranz, one of four professional makeup artists on site transforming participants into flesh-eating zombies. “It’s also fun to gross people out with what you can do with makeup.”
For many participants, the event was a family affair. “My wife has been practicing her zombie walk for the past week,” said Marshall Garner, a Lampasas resident who brought his entire zombie horde of five to the event.
His wife, Gina Garner, said she is a huge “Walking Dead” fan and has passed her love of all things zombie apocalypse down to her children. “Our kids are all about Halloween and creepy stuff, so this was a perfect thing for us to do as a family today,” she said.
Other activities included a zombie costume contest, a children’s scavenger hunt and a zombie photo booth.
“I am really happy with the turnout and the donations we are getting for the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen,” Balderrama said. “Since this event was so well received, we are already planning the event for next year.”
Balderrama said next year she is planning a zombie run and obstacle course where people will be chased by zombies and need to survive the apocalypse.