Fort Myers, Florida –December 27, 2011 – ZOMBICON 2011 Post Mortem.
Did Fort Myers Break The World Record for the “Largest Gathering of Zombies”?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest gathering of zombies ever, was held on October 30th 2010 when 4,093 participants, gathered on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey. But, on October 15th of this year, more than 20,000 zombies descended on downtown Fort Myers for ZOMBICON 2011, unofficially shattering the world record. Convincing Guinness however, may prove to be more difficult than amassing a horde of zombies which constituted the largest event to take place on the streets of the River District in history.
To satisfy the Guinness requirements, ZOMBICON organizers (known as The ZOMBICORE), collected names and signatures of 5,810 people in zombie make-up, on the night of the event. At exactly 9:00 PM First Street (between Broadway and Jackson Street) was cleared by The ZOMBICON “Goon Squad”. Using barricades, construction fencing and red caution tape, they created an enclosure referred to as the “Red Zone”. All registered zombies were called to The Red Zone, while all non-infected “survivors” (those without the minimum required make-up), were ushered onto the adjoining sidewalks.
Once this area was cordoned off and filled with all registered zombies, an air horn sounded from atop the 30 foot tall “zombie tower”, constructed on the corner of First and Hendry streets just for the occasion. Upon hearing the signal, members of the Fort Myers Fire Department, who served as official timekeepers, started the clock. According to regulations, all zombies must remain within the designated area for at least 10 minutes. As the clock ticked, excitement on the street reached a fever pitch. A second blast from the air horn signaled the fulfillment of the time requirement. The Red Zone was dismantled, uninfected humans and zombies mixed, and the party continued.
Since the night of ZOMBICON, members of the Z-Core have set about collecting evidence of the attempt, which includes video footage, photographs and notarized statements from officials. Beyond those who actually registered, the number of people in zombie make-up easily exceeded 15,000 people, (more than 3 times the official record), according to eyewitnesses. A map created by Parker, Mudgett, Smith Architects, depicts the Red Zone with an overlaying grid, which demonstrates how many people could potentially fit into the designated space. The corresponding photographs show this area completely packed with people during the attempt. All of this data has been carefully compiled and sent to London for consideration, as Fort Myers awaits the answer.
In the meantime, other records were broken on the night of ZOMBICON, which were easier to prove. According to Eric Olsen, Manager of the World Famous Cigar, “In 15 years downtown, we had our best night EVER”. Many other downtown bars and restaurants also reported record numbers. Gloria Bonventre, head of the Lee Memorial Blood Center, confirmed that 128 units of blood were donated, which have the potential of saving up to 256 lives. This is more than 3 times the number from the previous year, a record for the most blood collected at a special event. And this year, for the first time The Renal Transplant Center, and the “Be The Match” Bone Marrow Registry”, recruited donors at the event. A record 3,786 pounds of food was gathered for The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, the most ever collected at a nighttime event.
The Z-Core would like to thank the City of Fort Myers, the sponsors (particularly “Brains” level sponsors: Coastal Contacts, Myers, Brettholtz & Co., Needful Things Tattoos, New Rock 99X and Horned One Productions), and the volunteers without whom ZOMBICON would not be possible. Pushing Daizies, Inc. the non-profit organization which produces ZOMBICON, already has it’s sights set on next years event, which will be held on October 20th 2012. If Guinness does not recognize Fort Myers this year, there’s always the Future…