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The undead take over Springville during zombie parade

BRAIIIIINS — The Screamsville zombies stagger through the alley next to Beans to Brew, as they take over the village for one afternoon. Photos by Andrew Manzella.

SPRINGVILLE — Zombies and ghosts occupied Springville’s historic district and Maplewood Cemetery, on Oct. 12, for Screamsville’s second Saturday.

Chaz Vance, a special effects designer from West Falls, donated some of his time and a lot of his makeup to give ordinary citizens of Springville the chance to let their zombie flags fly.

AFTER YOU — Thomas Hawkins held open the door for a human resident, during the zombie parade through downtown Springville. Photos by Andrew Manzella.

The undead denizens started their parade at the Beans to Brew cafe on East Main Street in Springville, where Vance and his assistant, Barrett Quinby, of East Aurora, used toilet paper and airbrushing techniques to bring a greenish glow to the faces of participants.

Michelle Roberts, owner of Beans to Brew cafe, is an organizer and participating business owner in Screamsville, the Springville Halloween festival that runs throughout October.

“By far, today is our best turnout,” Roberts said.

While organizers noted that not all Screamsville events have been a success, the numbers of participants at the Saturday events is rising.

BLOODY ME UP A BIT — Chaz Vance poured fake blood on Bob McIlwreath in preparation for a zombie parade. Vance, a special effects makeup artist, donated the supplies.

“I think overall, it’s been a little chaotic, but good,” said Rich Van Over, owner of VanOver Fine Arts on East Main Street.

Van Over said the groundwork is being laid for the Screamsville event this year, so that it can grow and become better, in years to come.

While Saturday’s event was originally supposed to be a zombie scavenger hunt that would involve a touch football-type game throughout the village, the zombies severely outnumbered the human participants, so plans quickly changed to prevent an undead massacre.

All of the zombified adults and children decided to follow “the wizard,” otherwise known as Dan Bryce, an artist and zombie enthusiast, through the alleyways and storefronts of historic Springville.

IN SEARCH OF SCREAMS — Erika Thurkins haunted Main Street, during the zombie parade.

Erika Thurkins, executive director of the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce, said that being made up like a zombie was something she had wanted to cross off her bucket list.

“I’ve always wanted to be a zombie,” Thurkins said.

Various representatives of the 10-member zombie group responded with zombie phrases.

“Uggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh,” said Thomas Hawkins, a member of the Concord Historical Society.

“Brains!” said Bob McIlreath, a Springville-area native.

As the zombies stumbled down the alleyway next to Beans to Brew, the wizard in front announced their presence.

“Beware, people of Screamsville! The dead have risen!” Bryce shouted.

The zombies moaned, running into obstacles on the sidewalk and passing human citizens as they followed the wizard.

“Stay in character, people!” Bryce shouted to his zombie minions.

Jody Button, painting the front of his shop on East Main Street, said he was slightly taken aback at the sight of the Screamsville creatures.

“It’s a band of zombies, I guess. I’m glad I wasn’t on my scaffold,” said Button.

Thomas Hawkins and Jolene Hawkins, historical society members, took part in a guided tour of Maplewood Cemetery, after the parade.

Hawkins, in full zombie makeup, started the tour with a history brief about how the people of the 1800s treated their dead.

She said that people could pay someone else to weep over the grave of a dead loved one, if they were not present to do so themselves. She also said that friendship bracelets were often made with the hair of loved ones who had died.

After Hawkins’ lecture, the crowd of about 30 people followed Derek Otto, whose character was a deacon.

Otto lead the tour group to specific grave sites that had historical significance. Near those sites, a ghost character recited a bit about that person’s history.

The ghost of Lucy Bensley stood upon the top of the hill next to her grave. In life, she had been a librarian in Springville. the historical society building is now named in her honor.

“Please go to the next book sale!” shouted Andrea Domst, dressed as Bensley.

The tour group was taken from grave to grave, where they learned about famous murders of Springville and of ordinary families affected by the Civil War. Tours were led by volunteers from the Concord Historical Society, that also runs the Concord Mercantile and Warner Museum, in Springville.

For more information about future Screamsville events, visit


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