The Witches of South Walton Ride Again October 31
Rather than howling at the moon, a coven of women called the Witches of South Walton will wake at the break of dawn on Halloween morning to mount bikes, not broomsticks.
More than 60 SoWal women in witchy garb will meet on their festively-decorated bikes at Miss Lucilles Gossip Parlor at 7 am in Gulf Place on Scenic 30A to ride 4.4 miles to Butler Elementary and back.
Spectators may find a spot along 30A or meet them at the school where they will cackle, bewitch and cast their spells on school children and passerbys. This treasured local tradition, now in its eighth year, is known as the Annual Witches of South Walton Ride benefitting Children's Volunteer Health Network.
Immediately following the ride, everyone is invited to join the witches for a brunch and raffle at Grayt Coffee House in Grayton Beach. This truly is a great photo opportunity for kids and the entire family. The brunch will include Gouda cheese grits, shrimp, egg casseroles, fruit and pastries for $15.
Raffle tickets will be available for $5 and this years raffle includes items from local businesses, such as a gift certificate for $110 of hair salon services with Denae Holifield at The Change Salon in Destin, a gift certificate from KB Dahl with Oasis for a facial, a kayak or YOLO Eco tour for four with Walco Ecotours valued at $240.
Its not too late to become a Witch of South Walton. Interested witches are encouraged to attend the Witches Brew on Tuesday, October 30, from 5-7pm at Great Southern Restaurant in Seaside, where they may register and pay the entry fee of $15. The event never ends at 7:00, as the more wicked witches choose to linger! Witches may also purchase $5 raffle tickets at this time and bring any items they would like to donate for the raffle the following morning.
"This foolishness started in 2004 when two of my friends and I rode our bikes along the bike path several times a week for exercise," says Carol Stafford, Witches of South Walton Founder. "I jokingly suggested that we wear witch hats on Halloween day. We did, and got lots of attention. Buses and trucks honked their horns and people whistled. Most of all, the school kids, parents and teachers loved it. Admittedly, we were asked to keep our brooms away from the school, but for the most part we have become a cherished tradition. Most people look forward to seeing us!"
"Isn't it amazing what a small group of caring people can do?" says Zach Billingsley, CVHN Executive Director. "The Witches of South Walton is a group of genuine, caring people who love to have fun! The Witches came up with the concept and CVHN is blessed to have their continued support. The number of witches has grown each year, and although they may not realize this, each one of them is helping CVHN change lives. Every dollar raised helps more uninsured or underinsured children gain access to the health care they need and deserve. We are grateful for the support from the Witches of South Walton and look forward to this event every year!"
Cover photo by Shela Goode