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Thriller event going to the dogs

September 8, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
A little pre-Halloween scare is being planned as residents plan to congregate in Youngstown for the annual Thrill the World Youngstown event

on Oct. 29, where they will perform the dance made popular in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. Proceeds raised at the event will go towards K9 Crusaders and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Thrill the World Youngstown brings together area residents who not only want to pay tribute to Jackson, but for those who simply love Halloween or want to be part of a worldwide event.

According to event PR chair Tracy Mayle of Canfield, the local event is a lot of fun, but also helps out a worthy cause. She said those that take part in the event, pay a fee of $5, which goes directly to the K9 Crusaders. This group rescues dogs on death row at the Mahoning County Dog Pound, according to Mayle. Members attempt to save the dogs and get them adopted.

During the "Thriller" dance in October, event organizers go even further to help the community by requesting all those who want to witness the dance to show up with a non-perishable food item to give to Second Harvest Food Bank.

While the event raises funds and food for good causes, it is also part of something much bigger. Since 2006, a worldwide "Thriller" dance has been planned around October. In 2009, after the passing of Jackson, the event hit a record with 22,596 people from 33 countries and 264 cities took part on Oct. 24 and 25 in a global "Thriller" dance.

“It started as something simple and just continued to grow,” Mayle said. “In 2009 a record was set and no one has been able to beat it since.”

Last year, 24 local residents took part in the dance on Federal Plaza. They seemed to do very well, but they did have a good deal of practice.

“We rehearse every Tuesday through September and October,” Mayle said.

The practice sessions take place at the Boardman Petco store near Boardman Park. Every Tuesday, those wanting to take part meet at the pet store to rehearse between the hours of 7 and 8:30 p.m. Mayle said it is mainly for adults and children over 10 who are accompanied by an adult. Children under 10 may not have the patience for and hour-and-a-half practice.

“Anyone joining in this month can do so and have time to get the dance moves down,” Mayle said.

She said those practicing come Oct. 1 will be the only ones to take part in the dance on Oct. 29. She said the moves can’t be learned in a short time, but if someone came into the practices in September, they could take part.

One of the fun parts for Mayle is to do the make up and find the right clothes to become a zombie for the night. For her it is fun to do. She has been asked to do the make up for several of the participants.

It all comes down to Oct. 29 when people from around the world gather at different locations in an attempt to break the 2009 record.

Mayle said anyone who wants to participate can just show up at Petco on any Tuesday at 7 p.m. during September.

Article Photos

Photo special to the Town Crier
Kristina Sinegal of Poland, Tracy Mayle of Canfield and Pam Roscoe of Poland are ready for a repeat performance at this year’s Thriller dance in Youngstown.



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