Health department Nurse Director Vickie Greenfield said she would have liked to have another 300 zombies show up, but volunteer turnout for the exercise was much greater than previous years.
“People are obviously into the zombie thing right now,” a smiling Greenfield said.
At the end of the Friday’s exercise, prizes were awarded for best dressed zombie, zombie couple, best zombie walk, best zombie wail and most original zombie, among other categories.
Brittany Collis of Martinsburg was dubbed most original zombie after she spit fake blood while walking past an informal group of judges.
Collis along with friends, Capri Yancey and Layna Williams, spun a quick tale about how they became zombies after they were “inoculated” by first responders with a sticker and receiving candy that symbolized medication.
Yancey said she turned into a zombie after being attacked by multiple zombies, who bit her face while playing in a softball game.
Williams said she was a zombie sports fan who attacked Yancey and pulled out her appendix and ate it.
Collis said she was playing the national anthem at the game with Slash, the famous rock guitarist, who became a zombie and attacked her, turning her into an animated corpse.
Collis’ younger siblings, Katelyn and Tiffany, joined in on the fun, too.
Chelsea Burress, who was visiting Martinsburg from Idaho, said she had stylist, Luke Loy, do her makeup for the event, which she first thought was a joke.
“I was super pumped,” Burress said.
Burress said she and her husband, Andrew, who is in theU.S. Air Force, just relocated to Idaho from Martinsburg in March.
“He was really jealous he couldn’t be here,” Burress said.
Victoria McCumbee of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., who said she used lots of hair spray to cap off a blood-spattered, really bad-hair-day look, shared her recipe for fake blood: karo syrup, a little bit of chocolate syrup and red food coloring, all mixed together.
Erika Mayo, who resides in the Boonsboro, Md., area, said she didn’t care much about zombie-themed entertainment until she began watching “The Walking Dead” show on cable TV.
Now, she said she has become “zombiefied” and watches older episodes between new ones.
“Waiting the whole week ... is tough,” Mayo said.
Everybody acted relatively normally at Friday’s event, according to Greenfield, who said the health department may hold another themed exercise in the future, given the event’s success.
Prior to Berkeley County’s event, the zombie scenario had been promoted by the federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and used by others health departments around the country with great results, according to Carl French, the health department’s threat preparedness coordinator.