This year will be the first year to feature a Zombie fest in St. Thomas.
For those unacquainted with the Zombie phenomenon, George A. Romero movie, Night of the Living Dead, was released in 1968 and since then, the world has gone zombie mad. Since then there has been over 600 hundred Zombie movies, including the recent release, Warm Bodies, as well as the Brad Pitt adaptation of the Max Brooks best seller, World War Z. Zombies have not been kept just on the silver screen though. The current hit TV show, The Walking Dead, is all about the undead. In literature, Zombie or the undead or the reanimation of the dead has been around since the H.P. Lovecroft novel, Herbert West: Re-animator which was made into a very enjoyable movie in the 1980s. Even the classics have been bitten by the Zombie bug, with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies recently released.
The director responsible for bringing the Lord of the Rings to the big screen made the New Zealand horror comedy Brain Dead before he moved onto Hobbits. Danny Boyle, the director of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony was at the helm for 28 days later. Horror movies in general are big business, just look at the horrific Twilight series featuring Vampires and Werewolves. Numerous movies are released each year showing the demand and public enjoyment of this genre.
There is also possibly the most famous music video in the world, Thriller, by Michael Jackson which features dancing Zombies.
This large public love for the undead has inspired the popular trend of Zombie Walks which involves fans of the genre dressing up as, Zombies. An important note to make is that those who partake in Zombie walks portray the traditional Zombies, or the shuffling undead, rather than the recently discovered Zombies that can run as fast as you.
While the festival promises to bring visitors, and their wallets, to St. Thomas, there are some who believe that claim that the event will be glorifying violence and will be repulsive, that the festival will portray St. Thomas in a negative light. The two who are against the festival are both church leaders who believe that they not alone in the negative view of the proposed festival. From comments made to the St. Thomas Times Journal, it appears that both leaders see the Zombie festival as something other than fun.
It is a shame that there is negativity before the event. With the Iron Horse festival being cancelled, St. Thomas needs to have more events to draw visitors to the city, not less. As the culture changes, so must the attractions. There must be more thinking outside the box in order to attract people, and their hard earned dollars, to the city. While it is always nice to have events that have been running for twenty or thirty years, to always rely on them is to ignore other potential streams of tourism.
Why not use the Lion’s Father’s Day care show, the bi-annual Air Show, the Festival of Lights and the Fire Muster as the backbone of attractions that appeal to a wide range of people? Why not take advantage of more locations other than Pinafore Park? It is simply too easy to poo-poo an idea for a new event. While anyone can be negative, it takes a lot more effort to be positive. If someone is going to suggest an event shouldn’t run, perhaps they should come up with a replacement event that will be on the same level.
Talking of the lovely, but perhaps slightly over-used, Pinafore Park, why hasn’t anyone tried to have a Gilbert & Sullivan festival in St. Thomas? After all, since it is claimed that the park is named after the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera, H.M.S. Pinafore, St. Thomas would seem to be the natural place for it.
Now is not the time to beat down new ideas, rather now is the time to help raise them up and search for other unique ways of attracting visitors.