YOUNGSTOWN – The Youngstown Zombie Crawl may be in its 13th year of spooky fun, but fundraising has a new charity to benefit the brain-eating undead who are pouring into city streets to show off their faces torn by flesh, their dead eyes and dance moves.
The Buster Brigade, which serves Mahoning County and surrounding areas, helps pets stay in their loving homes, even when their parents struggle to afford pet food and veterinary care. People who registered for the Zombie Crawl, hosted by the B&O Station Banquet Hall, 530 Mahoning Ave., came to the hall to have their âNight of the Living Deadâ face applied, and registrants’ benefits. will support Buster’s Brigade.
Children were invited to the banquet hall until 6 p.m. to participate in Halloween entertainment, such as dipping apples donated by White House Fruit Farms in caramel, painting pumpkins donated by Angiuli’s Farm with paints donated by the Youngstown YMCA, sip apple cider and watch crawl participants slowly transform into flesh-eating monsters.
The participants invaded Youngstown at the start of the crawl at 6 pm and danced the âThrill of the Worldâ, a collective dance, a flash mob organized around the world in zombie outfits in homage to âThrillerâ to Michael Jackson. The living dead, mostly taking advantage of the van transportation offered by B&O, then toured establishments in the area, with several participating restaurants and bars.
Boardman’s Cherry Brawler brought her stepdaughter Jada Judy and her friend Spice Frost, all from Boardman and a roller derby team together, to be zombified. Michael DiLisio from Poland applied prosthetics, exposed squeaks, torn muscle tissue, and blood – lots of blood – to all three.
With bulging blue veins, red-tinted contact lenses and a searing new hunger for white matter, the three escaped into the city terrifying the townspeople with their raging roller derby moves.
Catherine Fetter, B&O facilities manager, said the old station had the right “vintage vibes” for a spooky setting. Its main building was built in 1905.
Fetter said the family banquet hall believes in the mission of Buster’s Brigade.
âThey work to keep pets like dogs in the homes of owners who love them,â Fetter said. “It breaks my heart.”
Donna Sekman started the association with the help of her husband and friends in 2018. Looking for something to care for and help others, Sekman discovered a need in the community after contacting other organizations that work with animals.
âWe heard that some people were taking their pets to shelters not because they didn’t want them anymore, but because they couldn’t afford a trip to the vet or food for the animals. company, âSekman said. âSo we help the animals stay at home with financial assistance and several other programs. (Pet parents) just need a little help finding the right resources.
In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, the charity set up four very successful pet pantries. One of the pantries supplies 250 families with pet food each week, she said.
âIt shows that there is a great need,â Sekman said.
And a veterinary clinic where eight vets volunteered their time at an event hosted by Youngstown State University, 200 pets were seen in four hours, Sekman said.
The association also helps local law enforcement agencies by providing them with the resources to house any animals they encounter, long enough to reunite with their rightful owners, and without having to send them to a shelter, Sekman said.
Fourteen police departments participated in the program, including Campbell and Lowellville, the village police department receiving a full outdoor kennel on site from the Buster Brigade.
Visit BustersBrigade.org or Buster’s Brigade on Facebook to donate to the association.