Hauntingly scary entities fly in for Madison Witches Ride

MADISON – They’ve fluttered back to their cobweb-laden lairs, but entrants in Madison Witches Ride left good-time memories and good vibrations by helping a community project.

Several components merged for the ride’s second year. “Spectators came ready to cheer on the witches and catch candy. The weather was absolutely beautiful!” Madison Witches Ride Chair Stephenie Walker said. “We had a new location and much better ride route that was bigger and easier to cycle.”

More than 700 people attended the event.

“The witches themselves were so enthusiastic and excited. Many returning witches were more familiar with logistics of simultaneous riding and candy tossing. Home Place Park was the perfect place to hold the Black Hat Block Party,” Walker said.

In the ride, 71 witches ‘flew,’ led by talented, dancing purple witches in the Violet Femmes Krewe. (Facebook/The Violet Femmes Krewe). At the block party, the Violets entertained in synchronized dance as a flash mob.

The conglomeration of witches was a good mix — good and bad, sweet and scary, goofy and glamourous. Several Nature Witches wore mushroom hats, flower crowns and feather accents. Oz was well represented by several tributes to Glenda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, Walker said.

“One unique Beetlejuice Witch handmade her elaborate sandworm hat with over 9,000 crochet stitches,” Walker said. “We even had a wild Day of the Dead Witch turning donuts on her tiny trike! There was a Stevey Nicks Witch, some punk rock, steampunk and classic Halloween witches, too.”

Witchy Awards went to “Best Good Witch,” Mecca Musick as the good Glenda; “Best Overall Costume,” Cara Sexton Welsh as Day of the Dead Witch; “Most Wicked Witch,” Eva Bryce as Beetlejuice Witch; “Best Broom,” Amanda Loew Hazy as Stevey Nicks Witch; and “Best Group Costume,” Connie Hendon and her Golf Cart Coven.

Witches weren’t limited to only brooms. “We had witches on scooters, hoverboards, trikes and electric golf carts,” Walker said. “Any broom that wasn’t gas-powered was welcome. Next year, I want to recruit some roller-skating and skateboarding witches.”

The Black Hat Block Party offered face painting; pumpkin decorating; carnival-style Halloween games, like Witch Hat Ring Toss and Pin the Eye on the Zombie; pumpkin bowling; Treat Walk; Meet & Greet with the Witches; and photos with a Hansel & Gretel-style Candy Witch (aka Mandy Pinyan) in her hut.

Six dogs competed in the Bark & Boos Pet Costume Contest. Grady was the first-place winner.

DJ Ty Funny spun records for catchy, upbeat tunes. Food trucks from Nomad’s Road Dogs and Ice Works fed the crowd.

Comments were positive from witches, sponsors and spectators:

* “Thank you so much for bringing this event to our community.”

* “Great turnout and such a fun time! Already looking forward to next year!”

* “I’m so proud of my community right now.”

* “My three littles said it was the best Halloween event ever. Good job!”

At the ride, 124 volunteers helped, mostly students from Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools. Members of National Honor Society, ROTC, Student Government Association and Scouts composed the “Flying Monkey Crew” that worked at games, painting faces and setup/cleanup. “We couldn’t have done it without them,” Walker said.

“We had a great Madison Witches Ride Committee, leading all planning and behind-the-scenes work. We kickstarted the fundraising campaign for the Madison Splash Pad with over $7,000 raised,” Walker said.

“The annual Witches Ride is a prime example of how Madison Visionary Partners makes an impact in the community,” MVP Executive Director Melanie Thornton said. “We are happy to be able to offer free, family-friendly events to support projects that enhance the quality of life for Madison residents.”

For more information, visit mvpmadison.org/madison-witches-ride.

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