A photo from the 2006 Zombie Walk. Photo by Melissa Chipman
A picture from a prior Zombie Walk | Photo by Melissa Chipman

Story updated on Sept. 3.

The Louisville Zombie Walk may be one of the largest gatherings of zombie-philes in the country, but this year’s event sparked a backlash due to the trash left in its shambling, decomposing wake.

As a result, next year’s Zombie Walk could be forced to do more to ensure it doesn’t leave a trash apocalypse in the Highlands after the party.

This year’s Zombie Walk took place on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 29. It was the 11th year for this event, and in past years, it’s drawn up to 30,000 participants. It was founded in 2005 by John King and Lindi Lou.

Bardstown Road, the day after the Zombie Walk, at 3:00 p.m. Photo by Randi Skaggs
Bardstown Road, the day after the Zombie Walk, at 3 p.m. | Photo by Randi Skaggs

According to Louisville mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter, the organizers of the Zombie Walk failed to clean up after the event, requiring the city to do so. Poynter said it was the organizers’ responsibility to pick up litter generated during the event.

“We sent city crews out (to) clean when it was apparent that the organizers did not,” Poynter wrote in an email to IL. “We think the Zombie Walk is a great event for our city, but the mess it leaves behind is a serious concern. We will be discussing with the organizers ways to avoid this next year and to ensure that trash is picked up in a timely manner.”

We asked Poynter follow-up questions, including how much this trash pickup cost the city and if the city will make the Zombie Walk organizers pay for the cleanup crews, but he didn’t immediately respond.

In response to social media complaints about the event, Rebecca Fleischaker, deputy director at the Metro Department of Economic Development, posted the following message on Facebook Monday indicating clean-up will be required next year:

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 2.20.26 PMIL contacted Fleischaker for additional comment, but she didn’t immediately respond.

This year’s Zombie Walk also took place the same day as the Highlands Fest, double-booking Bardstown Road and making it even more crowded than usual.

Louisville resident Nicole Willet-Jones wrote to IL that she was on Bardstown Road the next day and was shocked by what she saw.

“I drove from the Highlands to downtown around 10 a.m. on Sunday. There was a lot of trash,” she told IL. “All the trash cans were overflowing, and trash was all over the sidewalks and streets. It was a mess. My thoughts are if people want events like this, they need to clean up after themselves. This is their neighborhood and they should clean it up. If they can’t, then they shouldn’t have the privilege of having an event like this in future years.”

Organizer Lyndi Lou could not be reached for this story. However, in a Facebook post late Sunday night, Lou apologized for the mess:

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.30.29 PM

 

UPDATE

Though Zombie Walk founder John King is referred to as an organizer on the official event website, he reached out to IL following publication of this story to say he was not involved in organizing this year’s event. Attempts to reach King prior to publication were unsuccessful.

[dc_ad size="9"] [dc_ad size="10"]
David Serchuk
David Serchuk is a staff writer at Insider Louisville. He is a former editor at Forbes.com, and an ex-reporter at Forbes magazine. He's written for NPR, CNBC.com, New York, Pittsburgh, Louisville and other publications named for places. He enjoys writing about business, music and other things as well.