KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Several thousand eerily costumed zombies, best known as “the walking dead,” are to abandon pedestrian power for bicycles Sunday, Oct. 21, during Key West’s offbeat annual Zombie Bike Ride.
A pre-Halloween tradition for visiting and local families and groups, the ride typically draws men, women, children and even a few animal companions. They pedal along the beaches and streets of the island city wearing dead-white face paint, gory tattered garments typical of zombie lore and offbeat accessories that range from top hats to tutus.
The wacky event is to begin at 2 p.m. when “Zombieland” opens at Fort East Martello Museum, a reputedly haunted historic site overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd
The afternoon’s attractions include food and beverage vendors, music, prizes, giveaways and on-site face and body painters to help transform attendees into sinister zombies. A kids’ zone is to be set up at the fort with age-appropriate activities.
At 6 p.m., the spooky cyclists are to depart on their ride. The 4-mile route takes them down South Roosevelt Boulevard beside the Atlantic Ocean, past Higgs Beach and into parts of Key West’s hauntingly picturesque Old Town.
Among the standouts in the 2017 trek were a strange flock of zombie-flamingo hybrids, a swashbuckling pirate whose bike platform held his “skeleton crew,” passengers in a ferocious fanged cart and enough eerie clowns to populate a sinister circus.
As in past years, the unearthly antics are to culminate in the ZombieFest Street Party in the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Key West’s famed Duval Street.
The Zombie Bike Ride takes place on the first weekend of Key West's annual Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival, a 10-day extravaganza scheduled Friday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 28.
Registration to ride in the zany zombie ramble is $5 per person. The fee includes admission to “Zombieland” at Fort East Martello.