The Ottumwa Courier

October 23, 2013

Zombies are invading Ottumwa Central Park

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — It’s not too late to take proper precaution against the imminent zombie takeover. It’s also not too late to join them.

The zombies will be invading Ottumwa Central Park on Saturday during the first Ottumwa Zombie Fest, but instead of running away from the scary, undead beings, humans will be flocking toward them. As crazy as it sounds, the zombies will be creating a lot of fun instead of death and destruction, and hopefully the weather cooperates to keep the undead happy.

“It sounds like it will be a nice day,” said Joni Elder, head of the Zombie Fest Committee. “There is a lot of excitement behind it.”

All of the action starts at 10 a.m. with tons of games available for the living and the undead. There will be a scavenger hunt, video-game contest, sack race and head toss available throughout the day, as well as a zombie outbreak challenge sponsored by the Ottumwa YMCA that will be held at the southeast quadrant of Greater Ottumwa Park. The outbreak challenge will cost three dollars to enter, but most of the other activities will be free.

Of course, there will also be costume contests for people and pets, as well as pumpkin carving and scarecrow contests. For the younger zombies, a bounce house and several fun games will be available to go along with professional face painting.

The day of the undead will wrap up with 5k and 10k run or walk, which costs $20 if you sign up early or $30 at the event, followed by a live band and showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight. Guests are also encouraged to attend the First Resources Haunted Hay Ride at Greater Ottumwa Park and Nightmare on 3rd Street at City Hall, both for a small fee.

Though this is the first year for Zombie Fest, organizers hope it will be the first of many. According to Elder, they are hoping to make the festival an annual event, and they are even trying to organize several other events throughout the year.

“We are planning to do several events through the year with this as our premiere event,” Elder said.

The committee has spent a lot of time planning and making the schedule of events. They started organizing in the first part of July, and they have gotten approximately 20-25 retail and food vendors to come and add to the excitement.

More information, including a complete schedule of events, can be found at the Ottumwa Zombie Fest Facebook page, at

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

Zombie Fest children's program OTTUMWA -- The Ottumwa Public Library will be partnering with Ottumwa Zombie Fest on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., providing a children's program involving a story time and crafts. Come and join in the fun prior to the activities in Central Park. All are welcome. For more information, call Sonja Ferrell, Director of the Ottumwa Public Library, at 641-682-7563.