August is humming with eclectic events to help you squeeze the last ounce of awesome out of summer. You can run screaming for your life (and help save others), or openly haunt a cemetery. You can come back from a watery grave for one last historic battle or watch a righteous war be waged on a level playing field. Whatever you do, don’t say you’re bored.
Spring Valley Park, Kalamazoo
Aug. 10, 8:30-11 p.m.
$42 for racers, free for zombies
Zombies just won’t die and this month, the Zombie Dash rears is undead head once again. The scene is classic: a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with lumbering zombies. Your mission is to race five kilometers against time and diminishing daylight in hopes of reaching the finish line unscathed and in possession of your health (two flag football strips). “There are other zombie dashes out there but, they are mostly in the daytime with man-made obstacles,” said Mark VanTongeren, owner and race director of Michigan Adventure Racing. “We certainly ratcheted up the intensity with our last race by towing in a bunch of junk cars, with zombies hanging around the cars as if everyone has left town and there is a kind of zombie apocalypse.” Gaining rapid popularity, the event has gone from 600 to 2,400 participants in just three races. “I think … people want their running races to be more experiential and I don’t know if there is anything more experiential and intense than 400 zombies chasing you,” VanTongren said.
Teen Cemetery Tour
Grand Rapids Public Library Main Branch & Fulton Street Cemetery
Aug. 7, 2-3 p.m.
grpl.org, (616) 988-5400
Calling the morbid 11 to 18 set, now’s your chance to carve out more than just trouble from your wayward cemetery visits. Enjoy a tour of the historic Fulton Street Cemetery, Grand Rapids’ first home of the dead, hosted by the local history staff at the Grand Rapids Public Library. You’ll meet at the main library branch, journey to the cemetery, and uncover facts and lore about famed citizens, unknown graves and other juicy details that make this cemetery an important city landmark.
Michigan Pirate Festival
Loutit District Library & Harbor Island, Grand Haven
Ahoy! It’s that time of the year again when Grand Haven becomes a pirate haven and landlubbers get six days of excitement. Featured guests include mermaids, Jack Sparrow, Vikings, Captain Hook, Peter Pan and Wendy, Long John Silver and many more re-enactors spanning history running amok. Pirates are certain to overtake Harbor Island over the weekend and launch a heated battle from ship to land, so be prepared for some fireworks. More than an excuse to dress up, the Pirate Festival also offers fun and educational events at the Loutit District Library, where you can learn about pirate history, make pirate crafts, and hear tall tales. And of course, like any good festival, you can enjoy vending booths, food, drink and lots of merrymaking.
2013 World Dwarf Games
Michigan State University, Lansing
Every four years, for three decades, the World Dwarf Games has brought together fierce competitors in a class all their own. This month, more than 400 athletes from 23 countries will compete for glory in sports like swimming, track and field, soccer, archery, badminton, powerlifting, basketball, bocce ball, shooting and more on the Michigan State University Campus. The games launched on the MSU campus in 1983 were the first of its kind. Since then, the event, hosted by the Dwarf Athletic Association of America (DAAA), has reached global proportions. While the competitions are organized by age divisions as well as dwarfism classification, all ages and abilities will participate. The games kick off with an opening ceremony and reception and, following eight sports filled days, winds down with a closing ceremony and dance. All the sporting events are free to the public. There is a $75 registration fee to attend the special ceremonies and use the shuttle bus.
Photo: Zombie Dash, by Ian Anderson