About 100 revelers marched up and down Main Avenue at the stroke of midnight Wednesday, with many shouting, “Whose streets? Our streets,” which is something of a Halloween tradition in downtown Durango.
They gathered for the resurrection of the zombie march, an informal and unsanctioned procession that lasts about 30 minutes and makes several laps up and down the main thoroughfare, between College Drive and 12th Street.
The event has taken place in one form or another for about 15 years.
“It’s calmed down,” said Cmdr. Nick Stasi with the Durango Police Department. “People are very polite and courteous. We’re thankful … nothing dramatic has happened in the last few years.”
This year’s march began just after midnight with a small number of people taking to the street, later maxing out at about 100 participants, Stasi said.
Marchers walked in the northbound lane if they were going north and in the southbound lane if they were going south.
Because the event is unsanctioned, Main Avenue remains open to vehicle traffic. Police officers in safety vests try to warn drivers about the marchers and ask them to turn around for safety reasons, Stasi said.
No arrests were made.
In its heyday, the event drew more than 1,000 people, enough to take over Main Avenue. Participants have been mostly peaceful over the years, but there have been years when windows were broken, parked cars were vandalized and fights broke out. There was one year when marchers sat in the middle of Main Avenue and refused to move.
Stasi said the event is more mellow and people are more courteous than in past years. Police still plan accordingly, he said, but it is not as high of concern for law enforcement as it used to be.
He said the police department had more people handing out candy during the downtown trick-or-treat event this year than it did working the zombie march.
“It has evolved a lot from what it was in the beginning,” Stasi said. “I think that’s just through time. The people who participate now are different than the people who participated when it started.”
After about a half-hour, police asked the living dead – as nicely as possible – to move onto the sidewalks, which they did, Stasi said.