Zombies overtake Olympia for Charity

The Olympia Zombie Association held its third annual ZomProm supporting the zombie enthusiast culture in Olympia and benefiting Planned Parenthood and the Thurston County Food Bank on Oct. 14.

Nellie Goldsmith and her husband Bobby started the organization in June 2009 after their first event, a zombie walk through Olympia. Zombie lovers in Olympia highly requested a larger scale event. That same year the zombie prom was born.

Fake blood, gothic makeup, and ripped to shreds costumes are standard at the annual zombie prom. You can dance to your heart’s content in the dark, fog filled ballroom and get your best zombie modeling captured on film, this year by professional photographer John Gerecht.

“I think [it’s] a nice way to get a lot of different people together for something fun. Even though it is a kooky type of event,” said Nellie Goldsmith.

This is the first year the event benefited Planned Parenthood. Both Planned Parenthood and South Puget Sound Community College’s BRICK club had tables at the event sharing friendly smiles – underneath all the zombie makeup – and information about their organizations.

Jodi Gunther, the manager at the Planned Parenthood health center, said this was the organization’s first time tabling at ZomProm but will definitely not be their last. In the future they will continue to come to events and explain the services at Planned Parenthood, next time in more elaborate zombie dress.

Both Goldsmiths wish to expand in the future and hold events benefiting even more charities.

Bobby Goldsmith feels that zombie prom is a great event for this time of the year because of the donations collected for the food bank, which especially seeks donations before Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Garn Turner, a reading professor at SPSCC, attended this year’s ZomProm.

“I want to shoot zombies. I want to shoot them up close with a camera, right in their face,” said Turner as he was snapping shots of undead prom-goers as they were arriving.

“I love this weird fascination Olympia has with zombies. Okay, the vampires and the werewolves have Forks, but Olympia has the zombies,” said Turner smiling and chuckling.

Both Turner and his wife attended the event and plan to in following the years. Turner loved the idea of supporting charities while being able to have fun playing zombie, and is certain he will come fully costumed next year.

First-time attendees showed up this year and really seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere immensely. The true zombie enthusiasts made themselves clear through intense makeup and their most formal zombie wear.

“I just slabbed on some eye shadow and then poured water on my face and some blood,” said prom- goer Taylor Maloney.

For guest J.P., the best part about zombie prom is “the blood [and] the gore.” He also loves how “you can be who you want to be.”