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The zombie apocalypse is coming – and soon.

There’ll be nowhere to hide Saturday, Oct. 26 when the Zombie Walk 5 festival returns to Heritage & Science Park in Downtown Phoenix.

Zombie Walk 5, benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank and the Rosson House, is a FREE day-long celebration that unites zombies in a walk, shuffle, limp or crawl through the streets of Downtown Phoenix in what has become the largest–and bloodiest–gathering of zombies west of the Mississippi.

“We’re expecting 10,000-15,000 zombies of all sizes, ages and stages of decay at Zombie Walk 5,” said R.J. Price, Vice President of Marketing & Zombie Relations at the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, organizers of the event since 2009. “It’s hard to believe that just five years ago this was a 200-person event. With all the growth the event has experienced we’re extremely proud to have kept Zombie Walk family friendly and free to attend.

Click to enlarge – and navigate safely! Courtesy of Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

The festival kicks off at 2 p.m. with vendors, family activities, music and a beer garden featuring Four Peaks plus sangria and Italian food from locally-owned Crust Restaurants.

Don’t have a costume? Don’t worry. A donation of canned food items to St. Mary’s Food Bank gets you a 5 minute makeover from an Arizona Ghostbuster.

For the mini zombies, the Little Zombie Zone presented by Bookmans will feature free arts and crafts, snacks and appearances by the Arizona Ghostbusters, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Humane Society as well as a zombie preparedness zone from the American Red Cross.

The Zombie Walk Main Stage starts rocking at 3 p.m. and features performances from Free Ride in a Mason Jar, Soul Power, Recipe for Disaster and a live reading of The Raven from the actors of PoeFest. Zombie rockers Powerman 5000 will close the show at 9:30 p.m.

The highlight of the night, the annual shuffle of the undead, will commence at dusk (roughly 6 p.m.) when Zombie King and Queen Michael Aguirre and Breanna Reeser will join KUPD’s John Holmberg in leading 10,000 zombies on the 1.2 mile route through the heart of Downtown Phoenix. There will be surprises all along the route this year, including appearances by the Department of Zombie Defense, the United Zombies of America and many, many more.

Non-zombies are welcome, but strongly encouraged to keep at a safe distance. Zombies don’t run fast but they don’t quit, either.

Zombie Walk 5 aims to donate over one ton of non-perishable food items to St. Mary’s Food Bank. All attendees are encouraged to bring a canned goods or a small monetary donation.

For more information including zombie deals, photos, videos and zombie inspiration visit: downtownphoenix.com/zombie

Or stalk us on Facebook at: facebook.com/downtownphoenixzombiewalk #PHXZOMBIE