Zombie pub crawl could shamble to St. Paul

The new Vikings stadium could push the Zombie Pub Crawl out of Minneapolis.

Lauren Gantner looks over the edge of a Ferris wheel in Minneapolis at the Zombie Pub Crawl on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

Lisa Persson, Daily File Photo

Lauren Gantner looks over the edge of a Ferris wheel in Minneapolis at the Zombie Pub Crawl on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

Nicolas Hallett

One of the largest outdoor events in Minneapolis could be on the move, and it isn’t due to a lack of brains.

The Zombie Pub Crawl has amassed a record-breaking following since it started in 2005. The West Bank business district near the University of Minnesota has served as the primary hub for the event, but that could change for the pub crawl’s 10-year anniversary.

Construction of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium could encroach on the crawl’s route. ZPC co-founder Charles Terhark said losing the parking lots on Portland Avenue and South Fourth Street — known as the “Quarantine Zone” for this year’s rendition of the crawl — would force organizers to find another place to hold thousands of zombies.

“We don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like next year,” Terhark said. “We’d obviously like to keep it on the West Bank because that’s where we’ve been doing it forever … but it will probably have to look a little different.”

West Bank Business Association Executive Director Jamie Schumacher said the loss of the pub crawl would be a blow to area businesses.

“I don’t know of any business that chooses to participate that doesn’t benefit financially from it,” she said. “They’d be sad if it weren’t to happen on the West Bank.”

This year, about 25,000 participants sported fake blood, marched from bar to bar and watched A Flock of Seagulls, Trick Daddy and Sublime with Rome perform.

The event has grown exponentially since its initial run in northeast Minneapolis, which drew 150 people. ZPC earned a Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of Zombies in 2012, which the New Jersey Zombie Walk has since won back. About 30,000 faux-undead attended the ZPC that year.

Terhark said the main alternative would be a move to St. Paul, where ZPC had satellite locations in 2011 and 2012.

“We work really well with St. Paul, so we might consider doing that again,” he said. “Everything’s sort of on the table right now. There’s a lot of unknowns.”

Corner Bar owner Bill Murray said the pub crawl is one of his busiest nights of the year. He said he enjoys the event and would be surprised if it moved to the state capital.

“It would suck if it wasn’t here,” Murray said. “That’d really be a bummer if they moved. It’s something you look forward to in the fall.”

Republic manager Sarah Meyer said the crawl always makes for a lucrative night, and she isn’t sure how its exit could affect her restaurant. Meyer said she doesn’t think it would hurt the restaurant’s bottom line too much overall.

“It’s just something that we’ve always had, so we don’t know what it would be like without it,” she said.

Accounting and international business junior Kelly Heikens took part in her first zombie crawl this year and said she’d go again, even if it moved to St. Paul, though the drive could deter some students.

Junior accounting majors Adam Phillips and Quinn Jurgens will turn 21 in time for the next ZPC. They said they plan to show up wherever it’s held because they’ve heard such great things about the event.

Phillips said he understands how a different location may annoy some, but he’s been looking forward to participating for some time.

“I can’t wait to impersonate a zombie,” he said.

There were rumors the crawl could be canceled next year, Terhark said, but the ZPC has enough fans to raise it from the dead.

“We have every intention of keeping it going, for sure,” Terhark said. “If we didn’t do it, I think there’d be an uproar, and people would still do it.”