‘Zombies’ on Wheels: Key West's Unique Halloween Celebration
September 15, 2023 • KW Tourist
On October 22nd, Key West, Florida, will host a unique and eccentric event that breaks the traditional zombie stereotype. Instead of the frightening, slow-moving creatures often seen in media, Key West's zombies are ready to mount their bikes and ride alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
Location and Time: The event, called the Zombie Bike Ride, begins at 2 p.m. at Fort East Martello Museum located at 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd. The museum, known for its haunted history, serves as the opening ground for the celebration known as “Zombieland”.
Participants: Thousands of participants, ranging from local residents to tourists, partake in this pre-Halloween festivity. Riders often wear creative costumes, which can vary from the classic zombie look to more unconventional outfits like "zombified" tutus and wedding dresses. Even some pets join in the fun, dressed in their spooky best.
Attractions at “Zombieland”:
- Food and beverage stalls
- Live music
- On-site face and body painting for attendees
- An extensive kids' zone offering various activities suitable for younger participants
The Ride: At 6 p.m., participants, humorously termed “the biking dead,” embark on a 4-mile journey. This route goes down South Roosevelt Boulevard, passing by scenic spots like Higgs Beach and Key West’s Old Town. Some notable displays from the 2022 ride were a giant sorcerer, a “zombie ambulance,” and a rider with a coffin prop.
The 2023 Ride: This year's procession will weave through Key West’s iconic Duval Street. Participants are expected to surprise many pedestrians as they make their way to the ZombieFest After Party at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater, located at 21 E. Quay Road. At this venue, attendees can enjoy:
- A variety of food stalls
- A full bar service
- Prizes for the best zombie outfits
- Music provided by DJ Sanaris
Relation to Fantasy Fest: The Zombie Bike Ride is a part of the kickoff weekend for Key West's annual Fantasy Fest. This larger event is a 10-day festival of costumes and masks, running from Friday, October 20, to Sunday, October 29.
Registration Details: Those interested in joining the whimsical zombie ride can register for a fee of $10. This fee also grants admission to “Zombieland” at Fort East Martello.
For more information on the Zombie Bike Ride or to register, prospective participants can visit the event's official website: zombiebikeride.com.