Dawn of a new tradition? Zombie committee unsure about 2014; money raised for Lititz Springs Park could exceed $30,000

By on October 24, 2013

By:

LUCY RICCOMINI Record Express Staff

, Staff Writer



Photo by Patrick Burnsâ?©Crowds gather in downtown Lititz for the Dawn of the Lititz Dead Run on Saturday, which benefited the Lititz Springs Park.

The final stretch to the finish line found winded runners weaving through zombie roller derby girls for a one-of-a-kind fundraiser that was way more fun than fright – and it was all for Lititz’s beloved park.

The stage blood may have been cleaned up since Saturday’s zombie run and monster bash, but this Rock Lititz brainchild is still the talk of the town. Many are asking in anticipation, will Dawn of the Lititz Dead return in 2014?

"The zombie committee will be meeting in a couple of weeks," said event spokesman Tim Reedy. "No decision on whether to have it or not has been made regarding 2014. However, the Borough of Lititz as well as Venture Lititz have asked the event to return."

The idea for a zombie 5K came up during a brainstorming session at a Fourth of July meeting last November. Brian Shaughnessy of Atomic suggested it as a fun way to support Lititz Springs Park, a privately-owned facility that’s open for public use. The maintenance costs for the park, about $100,000 annually, come from donations and fundraisers.

"Lititz Springs Park serves as a place where families from all generations as well as people from all walks of life can play, walk, reflect and come together in a safe and natural environment," said Reedy.

"It was all Matt Clair (of Clair Global) and Tim Reedy," said Shaughnessy of the decision to donate the money to the park. "They are true Lititz-lovers. I actually wanted to buy a boat with the money, but they talked me out of it. But seriously, from what I am told, the July 4 celebration brings in only a fraction of what is needed for the yearly budget. In short, the park can always use a helping hand."

The run was originally slated to be a part of Lititz’s Independence Day celebration, but the committee decided it would serve better as its own event. Judging by the turnout, they made the right decision. Saturday’s race and after-party attracted an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Fundraising during a time when the economy is struggling is no easy feat, and committees are challenged to find new and innovative ways to raise money.

"I had just done a zombie run in Baltimore and had a blast," said Shaughnessy. "Zombies are huge in pop culture at the moment. We saw an opportunity to capitalize on it."

"I heard leaches are getting popular," he continued. "I’m feeling a leach throwing party coming on. ‘Gross, one’s on your neck!’"

Combining zombies and a 5K may have seemed a bit odd for Lititz, and at times it was even controversial. There were hurdles along the way, but the Rock Lititz team, a group of volunteers paired with a good sense of humor, had faith in the fundraiser.

"I was pumped to see everyone have such a good time and see all the smiling faces," said Shaughnessy. "Watching all the planning in the last year come to fruition as the event unfolded was a good feeling."

Turns out people like being chased by zombies after all.

"Everything has been positive," said Shaughnessy. "Honestly, I haven’t heard one negative comment since the event took place. I’m still waiting to get slapped in the face by someone; probably will have nothing to do with the zombie run though."

Rock Lititz spearheaded the event, and area businesses such as Spooky Nook, Appalachian Brewing Company, Sturgis Haus, BE Fenced, Sublime Cupcakes, Dutchland Rollers, Penn Cinema, Faulkner Fiat of Harrisburg and many more rallied around Rock Lititz in donating time and materials.

About 125 zombies and nearly 700 runners registered, paying $25 and $45 respectively to participate. Businesses also donated a portion of sales to the cause. According to Reedy, most vendors sold out of concessions. If you do the math, that’s a pretty nice chunk of change for the park. Although the final number isn’t tallied, profits exceeded $30,000, according to Reedy.

"The exact number will not be known for a couple of weeks, as we are still receiving sponsorship checks and we will be billed shortly for event expenses," he explained.

A check presentation will be held at 2nd Friday on Nov. 8, at which time residents will learn exactly how much was raised for their park.

And if the event does continue in 2014, the proceeds will continue to benefit Lititz Springs Park. Shaughnessy said it best: "We love our park."

More ZOMBIE RUN, page A2