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First-ever undead-themed 5K May 13 at Rotary Park

By Staff | May 6, 2016

As a zombie apocalypse befalls the city on Friday the 13th, participants can fight for survival as a human or help eradicate the living as a member of the undead.

Organized by the Red Headed Witches, the first-ever Cape Coral Zombie 5K Invasion will take place on May 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Rotary Park. Registrants for the fun run/walk can select between being a human or a zombie, with prizes for the top finishers. It will also feature a costume contest and more.

“We’ve been thinking about it for years,” Crissy Barchers, owner of the Red Headed Witches, said.

She explained that similar events are held throughout the country, with the closest in Tampa.

“We thought it would be really neat to bring something like this down to our area,” Barchers said.

“Humans” will each get a life belt with three flags to wear as they walk or run the course, while the “zombies” will run, crawl or stumble within designated areas of the course and try to collect flags.

“The zombies are going to try and snag the flags off the humans’ belts,” she said.

Humans that finish with at least one flag will have survived the apocalypse.

The run is not an officially timed event. Barchers noted, however, that prizes will be awarded to the human who finishes the course first with all three flags and to the zombie who collects the most flags.

“We have lots of gift certificates from many local businesses,” she said.

Zombie participants are encouraged to dress as such as they will undergo a makeup transformation for free and have a chance to step into the blood splatter booth in an effort to make the run come to life.

“We’re recommending everybody come in zombie attire,” Barchers said.

Suggested items include old, tattered and ripped up clothing.

“They’ll get their face done up, but they are more than welcome to do their own makeup,” she said.

Human participants are also invited to dress up, but not as zombies. Barchers noted that the options are limitless, from “The Walking Dead” or even “Star Wars,” to military, famous people and superheroes.

All participants – zombies and humans – will be required to wear closed-toed shoes.

She added that law enforcement will be on site for security.

“This is a safe event and we are taking precautions,” Barchers said.

At about 9 p.m., the costume contest will get under way.

Prizes will be awarded to the best zombie, best overall and best group theme, which is defined as a group of three or more people. The group winner will get a free boat rental from Salty Sam’s Marina.

“We are going to do a separate category for the juniors,” she said.

Junior participants are ages 11 and under; they can only register for the event as zombies.

Prizes will be awarded to the best junior zombie and the best junior overall.

The event will also feature photo opportunities with the undead.

“It’s almost kind of like photo booth-style with two zombies hanging out,” Barchers said.

People are encouraged to bring phones or cameras.

“You might just want to come down and spectate,” she said.

The event is free and open to the public, but donations are accepted.

A portion of the overall proceeds will benefit the Cape Coral Caring Center.

“This is just another way to give back and help out the needy here in Cape Coral,” Barchers said. “They are local-based – it’s not money that gets distributed throughout the United States.”

Food and drinks will be on hand, along with vendors booths.

“Our sponsors are going to be there with info booths and freebies and special deals,” she said.

Entry fees for the run are $25 for ages 12 and over and $10 for juniors.

As of Thursday, about 200 people had signed up.

“We are fully anticipating that that number is going to double,” Barchers said.

Participants can register day of, but advance registration is strongly recommended. To register in advance, stop in at the Red Headed Witches or visit: www.capecoralzombie5k.com.

The day of the event, zombies must be on site by 4:30 p.m. to undergo their makeup transformations and register, if need be. Humans are required on site by 6:30 p.m. to sign in or register, if need be.

Parking will be available outside of Rotary Park, near the four-way stop sign.

“Parking lot attendants will be there directing traffic,” she said.

For more on the Cape Coral Zombie 5K Invasion, call (239) 573-6566 or visit the website.

Rotary Park is at 5505 Rose Garden Road.

The Red Headed Witches is at 1910 Del Prado Blvd.