EVANS CITY, Pa.- In the hills of southern Butler County, the trees are starting their annual change to their fall colors, the weather is getting cooler, and the roads are perfect for a nice Sunday drive. If you take a short drive on Route 68, you will run into Evan City, PA where you look onto the side of the road and see:
This sign is a call for the undead return to the place that made them famous. Every October since 2011, Evans City, PA host the Living Dead Weekend. A three day festival celebrating the legacy of Night of the Living Dead, which was filmed in Evans City, and the zombie genre that millions of fan enjoy.
I traveled to Evans City all three days to embrace the zombie culture that surrounds the
town this time of year. Starting with a tour of filming locations for Night of the Living Dead
and The Crazies. To see these locations still in great condition though it has been almost 50
years since their filming is incredible and an testament to the community for keeping them in care.
After the location tour, I moved to the main area at EDCO park where fans of all ages gathered to buy the latest in zombie protection, art work, fake zombie bites, and so much more. One of the main attractions was the celebrity meet and greet area where cast and crew from Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Crazies, Evil Dead 2, and more. The celebrities were so friendly and didn’t even view it as a celebrity meet and greet. They saw it more of a family reunion of not only the casts but of fans who have formed a bond with the festival.
Later that night, I had an amazing dinner with Russ Streiner of Night of the Living Dead
and “Doc of the Dead” Arnold T. Blumberg. Following the dinner, I traveled down Route 68 to Zelienople to the Strand Theatre to watch a special showing of Night of the Living Dead with commentary from Russ Streiner, John Russo, Charles Craig, and Kyra Schon.
To round out the night, I returned to EDCO park for a bon fire with a cast of people who dressed up as a array of different characters, some creepier than others.
This trip showed how a town, that hasn’t always approved of what has made it famous, came together to celebrate the legacy of Night of the Living Dead.