The dancing dead kick off Pumpkin Fest

The Pinnacle at Turkey Creek kicks off their annual Pumpkin Fest this year with a flash mob dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

What better way to kick off a Halloween celebration than with the dance of the dead? On Oct. 26 a flash mob of all ages in themed costumes collectively boogied to Michael Jackson’s hit song “Thriller.”

The Pinnacle at Turkey Creek hosted the annual Thrill the World Knoxville flash dance this year. The performance kicked off Pinnacle’s Pumpkin Fest at 6 p.m.

“We just love to have people out and have a great time,” Ashley Slimp, marketing coordinator for Pumpkin Fest, said.

The mob itself had about 50 to 60 people dressed as everything from a pregnant zombie mother to a spooky nun. Families gathered around and watched the group dance; all eyes were focused on the mob.

The event manager of the flash dance Lacy Johnston first introduced Knoxville to a group of thrillers in 2009. As of this year, Johnston has led the event for a decade.

The flash mob debuted on our very own pedestrian walkway. Since then they have also danced at Market Square and now Turkey Creek.

Thrill the World

“Our portion is part of a larger scale group dance from Thrill the World,” Johnston said. “It’s a simultaneous dance across the globe, so we were dancing with people in Europe, in South America, in Asia, all across.”

According to the Thrill the World website, the movement started in 2006 with 62 dancers in Canada who set the first world record for the largest “Thriller” dance. Since then, at the same time each year people across different time zones dress up and groove like Jackson did in 1982.

“It’s about experiencing the energy of thousands of people around the world dancing together in the name of making a difference for charitable organizations and honoring a great artist,” Kathleen Kelly, writer of the Thrill the World event manual, said.

Although beating world records is a plus, it’s not the main focus of Thrill the World. It brings global communities together for a bit of spooky fun each year. They also raise money for various charities.

“When it popped up this year I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve always wanted to be a part of a flash mob type thing.’ So this was my opportunity,” mob member Kiana Strang said

The flash dance showed up on Strang’s Facebook feed as an event in which she may be interested. She was new to the area and thought it would be a fun way to meet new people and hopes to participate again next year.

Flasher mob dancer, Kiana Strang, in her costume. Photo/ Ashley Depew

Thrill the World Knoxville has a very active Facebook page and website where information, the event manual and videos to learn the dance can be found. They also have in-person dance practices each year leading up to the event.

Pumpkin Fest

After the flash mob kicked off the start to Pumpkin Fest, festivities officially started. They had a magic show, costume contest and 30 stores that participated in trick or treat.

The event was completely free and open to the public. Young and old showed up and dressed out in costumes and each vendor tent displayed a spooky way to represent their business.

A decorative skeleton is in the fountain at the Pinnacle shopping center in Turkey Creek. Photo/ Ashley Depew

“It’s a long time coming but it’s absolutely worth it, and we love seeing people have a great time,” said Slimp.

They started organizing and preparing for the event in early summer. This included getting venders and stores to participate, finding entertainment and getting all the materials together.

By the start of the event, the Facebook page for Pumpkin Fest had accrued about 10,000 people interested. They projected 1,500 to show up and said that this is one of the best turnouts ever.

Local events are a great way to get involved in the community and to feel the seasonal spirit. On November 22, The Pinnacle is hosting a Christmas tree lighting with entertainment and vendors. The tree will stand 60 ft tall in the center of the outdoor shopping plaza.

The flash mob gathers for a group photo. Photo/ Ashley Depew

Edited by Maddie Torres and Ainsley Kelso

Featured image courtesy of Ashely Depew