Monster Dash fundraiser run to be held in St. Helens on Oct. 10

PHOTO COURTESY OF SHOESTRING COMMUNITY PLAYERS - Zombies will take over city parks and downtown St. Helens during the Monster Dash. Organizers expect over 130 zombies and almost 200 runner to participate this year.It’s not every day you can try to outrun a horde of zombies and participate in a fundraiser at the same time. But during the 2nd annual Monster Dash, hosted by the Columbia County Rotary Club, on Saturday, Oct. 10, you can.

The Monster Dash is broken into a 5K race, a 10K race and a “Monster Mile” fun run starting at 5 p.m. in Columbia View Park. Racers then follow a path through McCormick Park and then towards the St. Helens waterfront, where zombies pop out at runners.

ShoeString Community Players member Brian Vaerewyck is helping organize the zombie horde this year, something he helped with last year. Vaerewyck said his wife, Shannon, offered to help the Rotary Club make the event more exciting by assisting with costumes and makeup.

This year, the entire downtown area will be transformed into a post-apocolyptic, zombie biohazard zone. Zombie volunteers will be dressed up in full makeup and costumes, again making it a one-of-a-kind experience for race participants.

“We can scare the crud of the people at the event this way,” Brian Vaerewyck said. “And everyone loves a good scare, right?”

The Monster Dash is not like a typical run where participants only get a t-shirt for signing up. Vaerewyck said the race itself is interactive and unique because of the volunteers. Over 130 people have signed up to participate as zombies this year.

St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss said as of Tuesday, Sept 29, over 100 racers signed up, three times more than had registered at the same time last year. He said he expects over 200 racers to sign up by the day of the event this year.

“It’s a fun event that we all like doing and it’s for a really good cause,” Vaerewyck said.

Dockside and Columbia County Brewing will be providing chili and cornbread for race contestants at the finish line. Zingti Massage will provide post-race free massages, and KOHI AM1600 will be broadcasting music in the park.

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