Holy Smokes: Zombie Invasion
The Rotary Club of Fort Erie in conjunction with the Drama Club of GFESS and the Fort Erie Race Track held its first annual RotZi event. RotZi is short for Rotary polio Zombie Invasion. This event was held at the Race Track on Oct. 24th 2021, which happened to be Rotary International’s Polio Day.
Now what is RotZi actually? RFE wanted to stage an event that would be fun for the community; especially for kids who were basically “locked” indoors due to the pandemic. Simply put; it was like an outdoor Haunted House in broad daylight.
What’s spooky about that one might ask especially if it’s outdoors in bright light? Well, Zombies can be anywhere at anytime. Zombies can “get you” anytime.
So, Zombie actors were strategically placed behind bushes, trees, and barricades, in cars, and even hidden inside a truck. And the idea was to have kids walk quietly through this Zombie infestation to get to safety. John Rouse, GFESS’ Drama teacher and his Drama Club’s students came up with and implemented many little scary parts; including a Zombie trapped in a car who then banged at the window for a nice “jump scare” and having Zombies grabbing another “actor” for probably the most commented scary effect.
After all the intense walking and jump scares; the kids were treated with a candy loot bag.
Because this was a “Zombie” event; all were invited to wear their masks and to keep 2m apart from other families. Who knew if any family were splashed by Zombie blood. Kids were recommended to wear their costumes to “scare” away the Zombies. And the kids were told not to touch the Zombies; otherwise the kids could be infected. As well, families were suggested to walk quietly, not to attract attention.
Quite funny, if you think about this. The event itself lends to safety precautions for covid-19 even in an outdoor setting. Here the attendee can’t touch/punch a zombie for the actor’s safety and for the attendee’s own safety (with respect to the theme of infection).
And because one had to walk quietly; the event built up suspense. But because it was quiet; the whole event wasn’t rowdy. For a small Rotary club; the real fear of a uncontrollable rowdy crowd existed.
Flyers describing a little history of Polio Eradication by Rotary International was handed out while the families were waiting to get into the walk. Because the RotZi happen to occur on the same day as World Polio Day, the flyers were an educational touch. The kids were finger nail painted purple; something they could show off to their friends the next day at school. This is a reminder that in other countries, vaccinated kids were finger painted purple to indicate that they were vaccinated, but could not show off because they have no school. The Zombie walk also involved a “Scavenger” hunt where the kids could look for clues to fill out a challenge. The solution were letters that then composed: “End Polio Now”.
In the end; approximately 50-60 families of about 160-175 people attended the event.
The families came in a steady stream and the small club of RFE was thankful we were not overwhelmed. We suspect if we had more families come; we would be overwhelmed due to the parking. As parking in one area was deemed to potentially “ruin” any surprises; we had to move resources to help with restricting parking.
RFE again would like to thank GFESS and the FE Race Track for making RotZi a success for its first run. RFE would also like to thank REVEL, Mrs.O’s Pharmacy, and Zentein.ca for sponsoring the event. With their sponsorship, we were able to buy the candies and makeup, print hundreds of flyers and brochures, etc.
In addition, we love to thank the public for showing up and having a good time. We loved hearing their encouragement that we do it again next year. We also want to thank the public for donating monies. In the end from both sponsorship and donations, we raised about $800. $500 will go to a scholarship for a Drama Student in need, graduating from GFESS going to a post secondary institution. Approximately $300 will go to the Polio Foundation, to continue to help eradicated Polio. Not bad especially when we intended this as a fun community event.
If you wish to see RotZi 2022 become reality; please email us at RotaryFortErie@gmail.com. If you have a Halloween prop that can “screech/scream” when one walks by, donate it to us. We’ve seen people put them on their porches for Halloween. We need sponsorship, we need volunteers, and we invite those who really want to “serve above self” to consider joining RotaryFortErie.org.