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Thrill the World Witching Hour Is 3 p.m. Saturday

Dancing zombies on rise throughout the county

Mayor Helene Schneider enjoys the zombie romp at a Thriller performance.
Mayor Helene Schneider enjoys the zombie romp at a Thriller performance. (Rob Hoffman)

At precisely 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, 200 World Dance zombies will rise from the lawn of the Courthouse Sunken Garden as part of the worldwide event — Thrill the World.

Hosted locally by World Dance for Humanity, the Thriller flashmobs begin Friday afternoon, when dancers will appear at Carpinteria’s Trick-or-Treat event on Linden Avenue at 4 p.m., followed by surprise appearances around Santa Barbara.

Saturday is the big event at the Sunken Garden, which includes a free costume dance party, 2-4 p.m., followed by a rock 'n roll romp down State Street.

On Sunday, the group travels to the Santa Ynez Valley to perform Thriller in Los Olivos town square, at local wineries, in front of the gates of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, and at Cold Spring Tavern.

On Halloween, the zombies can be found at 4:30 p.m. on Montecito’s Ghost Village Road, then at 7:30 p.m. in Solvang for the city's annual Haunted House and Street Fair.

This is the seventh year World Dance for Humanity is hosting Thriller in the community. For the local nonprofit, the production of Thriller has a purpose beyond a “spooktacular” community event.

All funds raised from Thriller sponsorships and donations will go to the group’s Rwanda Education Fund, making it possible for 150 young people to attend school, who would otherwise have no chance to get an education.

A portion of the funds also provide scholarships for the Westside Boys & Girls Club, where World Dancers volunteer year-round.

For more information about the Thriller event, visit

World Dance for Humanity offers five dance classes a week for women looking for fun, exercise, community, and a chance to help people in need.

All class proceeds and donations go their humanitarian aid work in Rwanda, where they are helping 8,400 people in 25 communities left divided and destitute by the 1994 Genocide.

The group provides education stipends, training, goats and cows, and support for community-run businesses. With help from the World Dancers, these communities now have the resources, skills, and confidence to rebuild their lives.

World Dance for Humanity receives an annual grant that covers their overhead, which means every penny from their classes, donations and grants goes to Rwanda.

The group is also active locally, where members reach out to wheelchair-bound seniors and disabled adults through dance and music, and volunteer at the Westside Boys and Girls Club.

— Janet Reineck for World Dance for Humanity.

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