Calling all zombies

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Area residents are invited to Thrill the World during the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Fall Festival and Chili and Salsa Cook-Off. The local flash mob, which is open to all community members, will join zombie groups from across the world when they perform to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" on the square at 2 p.m. on Oct. 27.

"Last year, I approached Mindi (Artherton, chamber executive director) thinking that the "Thriller" dance would be a fun new element to add to Trick-or-Treat Around the Square," said Ann Hennigan, who is organizing the local flash mob performance. "I came across a video dance lesson plan on YouTube that I thought would work as a good tool to use with volunteer zombies from the Cassville High School Show choir."

Hennigan learned about Thrill the World when she visited the source page of the routine and discovered an entire website dedicated to the effort to break the world record for the largest simultaneous dance to "Thriller."

"Last year's Thrill Day did not coincide with our performance date, but the seed was planted," said Hennigan. "This year, Mindi thought the Chili and Salsa Cook-Off would offer a great venue for us to stomp drag again. When I realized that the cook-off coincided with Thrill Day, I knew I wanted us to be a part of both events."

Although the Cassville High School show choir will be participating in a competition on Thrill Day, Hennigan decided to forge ahead opening the local group up to volunteers from the community.

"My goal is to have more funky zombies than last year," said Hennigan. "I turned to our friends at the Cassville YMCA and the Cassville Branch Library for recruitment."

Practices will be held at the Cassville YMCA from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, Tuesday, Oct. 23 and Thursday Oct. 25. A practice will also be held at the library from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. On Monday, Oct. 22.

An open workshop will also be offered at the Barry County E-911 Operations Center from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 and from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.

"I've commissioned a couple of former zombies to lead the practices," said Hennigan. "My role during practice is to prove that you absolutely don't have to be a good dancer in order to be a great zombie."

All community members are invited to take part in the practices, learn the "Thriller" dance and perform with the flash mob. Community members can also learn the dance on their own free time.

"We have some funky George's zombies slated for a practice session this weekend," said Hennigan. "This is an EOZ (equal opportunity zombie) event. Anyone of any age and physical ability can join.

"All we ask is that participants know the Thrill the World dance steps, and that they sign a participation waiver that allows us to use their photo or video image on the Internet so we can all be counted in the final worldwide tally," said Hennigan.

In 2009, Thrill the World set a world record with 22,571 simultaneous dancers. As of Oct. 8, there were 91 United States cities in 34 states among 133 cities in 17 countries registered for another record breaking event.

Thrill the World has been conducted annually since 2006. The event was created by Ines Markeljevic, who began dancing to "Thriller" at the age of 3.

For more information on Thrill the World, visit

To learn more about the local "Thriller" flash mob performance, call Hennigan at 342-6615, email her at or visit her Thriller page on Facebook.

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