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Sterling Heights

October 8, 2012

Zombies invade Sterling Heights!

The latest creepy craze attacks golf course, library

By Cortney Casey
C & G Staff Writer

There’ll be something more frightening than the prospect of a double bogey at Sunnybrook Golf & Bowl this Halloween season.

Sterling Civic Theatre plans to unleash 50-100 undead wanderers on the golf course for its first-ever Zombie Apocalypse Oct. 19-20, which challenges players to navigate a course while fending off creepily costumed actors.

Admission is $10, with proceeds benefiting the community theater group. The event is open to the public, but Larry O’Grady, Sterling Civic Theatre’s co-founder and artistic director, warned that there are two prerequisites: “You can’t be scared of the dark — or scared of zombies.”

More interactive than a traditional haunted house or forest, the goal is for water gun-armed players to soldier through the darkened golf course unscathed, collecting medical, food and water supplies along the way, said Lyne Parziale, Sterling Civic Theatre’s executive director.

The “zombies” — current and former Sterling Civic actors, plus friends and family — will attempt to capture two flags worn by the players, flag football style. The players will have to protect their flags using their wits and water guns.

Once shot, the zombies must freeze for three seconds. They can only capture one flag at a time and can only run in five-second stints. As they’re not permitted to make any physical contact with the players beyond snatching the flags, there won’t be any tackling, roughing up or brain harvesting.

Participants can sign up as individuals or teams, but as each team only gets one water gun, it’s more advantageous to enroll as a single player, said Parziale.

The course starts at 7 p.m. and will remain open until “everyone is infected,” but no later than midnight, said Parziale, who estimates that course completion should average 30-40 minutes.

Parziale said Sterling Civic Theatre was looking to hold a Halloween-themed fundraiser and drew inspiration from a friend in another state who organized a similar event. It seemed particularly appropriate, considering zombies are currently in vogue, due at least in part to the popular AMC series “Walking Dead,” she said.

“We saw it and we talked to him, and it sounded like so much fun, we decided to run with it,” she said. “Our cast is really excited about doing this. We went to (Sunnybrook) with the idea, and they were like, ‘We love it; we’d love to be part of it.’”

For those who prefer to get their zombie fix during daylight hours, the Sterling Heights Public Library has an afternoon of undead activities scheduled for the teen set.

The Oct. 20 event kicks off at 2 p.m. with a zombie fashion show, which encourages seventh- through 12th-graders to don their most elaborate zombie makeup and garb. Best dressed earns a prize.

The fashion show will be followed by games — like “Pin the Pancreas on the Zombie” — and crafts, including making “Franken-toys.” There also will be a trivia contest, and all participants will receive goody bags, pizza and pop.

Admission is free, but registration is required. A limited number of drop-in slots may be available that day, but are not guaranteed.

Librarian Barbara Van Havermaat quipped that she has a “soft spot” for zombies, as her older brother used to chase her around quoting “Night of the Living Dead”: “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”

“I think they have replaced vampires as the ‘in’ thing, which is great because while books like ‘Twilight’ were popular, they are romantic and more popular with girls,” she said. “Zombies are not very romantic and appeal to both boys and girls.”

Through Oct. 26, the library also is conducting a contest that challenges sixth- through 12th-graders to develop a “zombie survival plan” for the facility.

“Teens can write out a plan for the library in case a horde of marauding zombies shuffles up to the building,” said Van Havermaat. “They can describe the advantages and disadvantages of being in the library, what supplies they could find and either how they would defend the library or how they would escape, where they would go and why.”

One prize of “zombie-related survival gear” will be awarded Oct. 29. Entry forms and additional details are available at the Youth Services desk.

“We’ve never done this type of teen program before, but we always like to try new things,” said Community Services Director Tammy Turgeon. “It’s Halloween time: Zombies in books and movies are very popular, and we want to attract new patrons to the library. We’re trying to reach all ages with our programs. The library is for everyone.”

For more information on Sterling Civic Theatre’s Zombie Apocalypse, visit www.sterlingcivic.org and click on Fundraisers or call the group’s office at (586) 264-5571. Tickets are available at the door. Sunnybrook is located at 7191 17 Mile in Sterling Heights.

For more information on the library’s teen zombie event, or to register, call (586) 446-2644 or visit www.shpl.net. The library is located at 40255 Dodge Park Road, at Utica Road.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Cortney Casey at ccasey@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.