David Mullen’s sales pitch — to fill the streets of downtown Brainerd with zombies — received surprisingly positive feedback from city businesses.
“I’ve been a zombie fanatic since I was a kid,” the Brainerd resident said. “Since I watched ‘The Night of the Living Dead.’”
The result of Mullen’s door-to-door solicitation of businesses and help from people such as Nancy Cross of Brainerd Community Action is downtown Brainerd’s first Zombie Crawl on April 27.
First he approached downtown bar owners about his plan to sponsor a zombie pub crawl, similar to the popular events in the Twin Cities. When other non-bar businesses indicated interest in the plan, the idea was expanded to include a parade and a family-oriented scavenger hunt where participants donate non-perishable food for the Brainerd Salvation Army’s food shelf. Mullen said he has had occasion to seek help from Salvation Army programs in the past.
“We’re not a rich family,” the father of five daughters said. “We’re trying to do something (for the food shelf). Most people right now don’t have an excess of expendable cash. Everybody’s got a can of beans in their cupboard.”
Events include a scavenger hunt from 10 a.m. to noon; a parade at 12:30 p.m. and a pub crawl starting at 8 p.m.
Capt. Scott Strissel of the Brainerd Salvation Army admitted to being a little surprised when he first heard of Mullen’s plans, but said Wednesday he would be excited to receive non-perishable food contributions for a food shelf that has been low on supplies this month.
“Being able to feed more people is really our goal,” Strissel said. “If we can receive donations from anyone in the community ... we’re here to serve anybody in our community without discrimination and that’s our goal.”
Event registration for the day is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Blue Room at Yesterday’s Gone.
The scavenger hunt is a family-oriented event in which participants visit downtown businesses to find pieces of a zombie picture puzzle. All registered scavenger hunt participants and others who would like to register for the parade will follow the same route as the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The 12:30 p.m. parade will end at Yesterday’s Gone, where the awards ceremony will take place.
Mullen said there are about $1,000 worth of prizes for the activities. The parade will include a grand marshal and fire trucks.
The zombie pub crawl, an adult event, starts at 8 p.m. April 27.
Mullen, 30, said he hopes the participants adopt a spirit of good-natured fun. He said he will have a list of zombie etiquette rules.
“Please be civil and smart and enjoy yourself and it will be a really fun event,” Mullen advised potential participants. “Just be courteous.”