Explore Zionsville Lore When SullivanMunce Cultural Center’s Popular Event Returns Oct. 4-5

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A poisoned picnic, an escaped monkey, and a presidential visit all have one thing in common — they are all part of the rich fabric of Zionsville lore. They are also the inspiration behind tales that have been enchanting adults and children at the SullivanMunce GhostWalk for 17 years.

The 2019 SullivanMunce GhostWalk is October 4 and October 5, starting every 15 minutes from 6-9 p.m. The 1-mile walk begins at SullivanMunce Cultural Center, 225 W Hawthorne St. The tour has nine stops featuring performances about the town’s history.

Heather Lusk, a Zionsville resident, is chairing the event for the first time. The event will feature history inspired vignettes that visitors have come to love. However, each years featured stories are a bit different from previous walks. This year there will be all-new tales, while prior presentations will be slightly modified.

New to the SullivanMunce GhostWalk this year will be a psychic, who will be available for readings in the center as folks wait for their tours to begin.

“There’s something for everyone, whether it’s a young child who wants to see something funny and not too scary or someone who’s interested in a historical story, Lusk says.

The GhostWalk has an abundance of stories. One tale involves a picnic where two young girls were poisoned. Another, staged in Lincoln Park, is about a visit from President Lincoln. Train accidents also play a role in the stories, and all will be part of the 2019 GhostWalk.

Previous years’ walks have spotlighted a monkey that’s said to have once roamed the town after escaping from animal testing at a lab. While all stories draw from real accounts of events from the late 1800s through the 1950s, they’re embellished for entertainment.

The event began in 2002 and returned each year before going on hiatus in 2010. In 2011, the GhostWalk was reincarnated, and it’s been going ever since.

Lusk describes the tour as “more spooky than scary in a lot of instances,” so children are welcome. She does recommend they take part during daylight hours.

As for older children and adults seeking something a little creepier, Lusk suggests going later.

The walk’s route can accommodate strollers, wheelchairs and walkers.

The SullivanMunce GhostWalk is typically a sellout, drawing 600 each year from Zionsville and beyond. However, those going on the tours are only part of the story. 

Behind each GhostWalk, there are more than 100 local volunteers — some who begin working in the summer. Volunteers include performers, makeup and costume assistants, and homeowners who offer the use of their front porches and yards for skits. One stop features dancers from the Village Dance Studio in Zionsville.

Lusk herself was an actor in the GhostWalk for eight years and her husband and children also have roles in the production. Their story is not unusual, she says.

“A lot of families are fully involved,” Lusk says. 

SullivanMunce Cultural Center depends on its volunteers, as well as those who take the tours. The GhostWalks are fundraisers that support the nonprofit center’s work to preserve Zionsville’s history.

The 2019 SullivanMunce GhostWalk is October 4 and 5, starting at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center — rain or shine.

Order tickets online at sullivanmunce.org or call 317-873-4900. Lusk recommends reserving tickets in advance to ensure space is available for the time you want.

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