The people responsible for creating a safe zone in Downtown Elgin to protect humankind from the zombie apocalypse were recognized Thursday by the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
The DNA's prom-themed awards gala included prom photos, dancing, dinner and the announcement of the award recipients, chosen from a pool of nominees highlighted for their contributions to the city's revitalization and impact on making downtown a great place to be.
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Nightmare on Chicago Street, last year's inaugural citywide Halloween fright festival, took over part of the downtown, giving people a chance to party while infected zombies roamed free. The "safe zone" was protected by military personnel with zombie-friendly activists playing their part in rallies for fair treatment of the undead.
Barb Keselica and Heather Williams from the City of Elgin Special Events department led the planners, who spent thousands of man-hours making the party a success. The entire committee was recognized at the DNA gala Thursday night.
Jeff Allison took the individual prize for his seven years as chairman of the DNA's Fourth of July Parade Committee and contribution to Elgin's inaugural International Festival parade. Allison also volunteers at Provena St. Joseph Hospital where he helps organize an annual golf outing.
Finalists for the individual award were former DNA executive director Tonya Hudson, Villa Verone owner Pietro Verone, State Rep. Keith Farnham and local artist Dave Metzger, who helped with Nightmare on Chicago Street last year and thought up the Miss Zombie Pageant planned for the 2012 event, set for Oct. 27.
The Elgin International Festival Committee, Grand Victoria Foundation, Love Elgin Day and YWCA Elgin made the shortlist for the business, organization or group award category.