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Zombie Walk thrills crowd at BatFest

Craig Foltos Bataviintroduces costume contestants Thomas Ketfoot 7 (Superman) Will Kerfoot 9 (Clark Kent) BataviBataviBatfest BataviSaturday October 20 2012 |

Craig Foltos of Batavia introduces costume contestants Thomas Ketfoot 7, (Superman) and Will Kerfoot 9, (Clark Kent) of Batavia at Batavia Batfest in Batavia on Saturday, October 20, 2012 | Sean King~For Sun-Times Media.

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Updated: October 21, 2012 7:49PM

Zombies shuffled their way through downtown Batavia to do what creepy, dead-like creatures like to do — dance.

“I feel like a zombie,” said Shelby Hill, 20.

The second annual Zombie Walk held Saturday as the sun began to set drew a crowd to the Peg Bond Center along the Batavia Riverwalk, where the undead got to get into the spirit of Halloween with creative costumes and dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

“We had increased interests for the second year for sure,” said Joi Cuartero, Batavia MainStreet executive director.

Hill, of Batavia, had her make-up done by one of the professional artists from Water Street Studios, a non-profit educational center and gallery that supports the arts in Batavia, who exchanged the canvas and sculpting expertise to facial artistry meant to gross people out.

The artist applied latex and tissue to her neck to make it look like an open wound and then sprayed gelatin to fabricate dripping blood. “It’s scary, creepy and awesome,” Hill said of her “inner-zombie.”

Three “quarantined” areas were designated for people to gather and get their zombie make-over done if they needed it. The lifeless looking monsters then walked in a “disjointed” fashion a few blocks down E. Wilson Street and Batavia Avenue to Island Avenue

John Gerber, 26, who works in tech support by day, said the Zombie Walk was a way to have fun and embrace his youth. “It’s a change of pace,” Gerber said.

Kari Kraus, a fiber installation artist and one of the founders of Water Street Studios, decided she would be the “perfect” zombie bride for the occasion. Her vintage 1920’s style lace wedding dress and veil was splattered with fake blood and she applied flavored gelatin and make-up to make it look like her forehead had decaying flesh.

“You need a blank stare as though nothing is going on in the brain,” said Kraus, 26.

Most of the participants grew up with the “Thriller” video and knew the dance.

A troupe from the Batavia Academy of Dance, ages 10 to 17, gave instructions on the original choreography with Jackson’s infamous “monster claw” and “isolated moves” that are quick snaps of the head or shoulder. The young dancers were dressed as glamorous ballerina and hip hop zombies.

“I like the creativity of dressing up and dancing,” said Cassie Roesner, 17.

“I really like how the audience participates in the dance,” said Bella Ricke, 14.

The event, held at the conclusion of the annual BatFest family celebration geared for the young trick-or-treaters benefit Batavia’s public school music and performing arts booster organizations: Batavia Music Buffs, S.T.A.G.E. and Studio-Visual Boosters, as well as Batavia MainStreet.

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