Zombies take over the City of Bridges

Zombies took over downtown Ottumwa Saturday.

Hundreds of people packed Ottumwa's Central Park for the first-ever zombie fest.

â??Weâ??ve got face painting a scream contest, brain eating contest, head-in-holeâ??itâ??s like a bean bag toss but zombie heads down there,â?? Joanie Elder, organizer said. â??We've got scarecrow contests going on today. Over in Greater Ottumwa Park we have a zombie outbreak. It's kind of a death race not to get infected.â??

â??My friend Joanieâ??s kind of in charge of it so I just figured Iâ??d come and give her some help, and it's nice to get the community together and see everybody have a good time,â?? Whitney McLaughlin, volunteer said.

11-year-old Baylee Henderson Miller came dressed as a gangster zombie

â??I got a zombie makeup kit, and I did the zombie flesh and the blood and eye-shadow stuff they have with it,â?? she said.

Many participants had a goal to thrill the world with a zombie flash-mob dancing to Michael Jacksonâ??s "Thriller" with an attempt to break a Guinness World Record.

â??Zombies is a big thing this year,â?? McLaughlin said. â??It's a great way to get everyone together and have a good time.

â??It's fun to just bring everybody together,â?? participant Katherine Schaefer said. â??I think it's the most people in one area and we travel around Iowa pretty much just going to craft fairs.â??

â??Me and my dad like zombies, so we came, and my mom and brother wanted to come to just look at stuff,â?? Tayden Sullivan said.

If you're not a fan of zombies there were plenty of food and merchandise vendors lined along Third Street. Organizers say they are more than pleased with turnout.

â??It was a talk between several different people that we were on other committees, and we were just trying to figure out why we couldn't have things in our community like Des Moines, and yeah it might not be as big, but it's a start, and things to bring our community together and make it happen,â?? Elder said.