Philadelphia may have lost out on Hollywood's version of the zombie apocalypse, but its sister city Pittsburgh is hoping the undead will descend in record numbers this Saturday.
The fifth annual Zombie Fest kicks off Oct. 8 with vendors, live music, celebrity appearances and makeup artists ready to transform everyone in the family into the walking dead. It's all in good fun — but there's some serious competition afoot that's driving participation.
"Zombies are our own pop-culture bragging right and are recognized as part of our city's heritage," creator Mark Menold said in a news release. "I liken this to another city trying to buy one of our sports teams. It's important that we take the world record back from Seattle. It's a matter of civic pride.”
Ah yes, the damnation that is the city of Seattle — the current Guinness Book World Record for Largest Gathering of Zombies. Pittsburgh's Zombie Fest held that coveted title for three years until 2009, when Seattle raised an army of nearly 4,000 living dead. The steel city rebounded with more than 4,000 zombies last year only to see it snatched from their cold, dead hands by Seattle, yet again.
This weekend, the bold prediction is that more than 10,000 will attend Zombie Fest, once again making Pittsburgh the world capital of the undead. While it's all in good fun, there's also an immense charity side to this event — with participants urged to provide non-perishable food donations to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank or cash donations for the cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
To find out more (admission is free), jump over to the official site here.
UPDATE 10/12: According to the official Facebook page, it appears that Pittsburgh may have "barely" captured the Guinness World Record. The unofficial count was 4,900 zombies, with 5,000 the record need to beat. Since unofficial counts tend to trend lower, there's reason to suspect they beat Seattle's old record. We'll know more soon.]\