Bubble, bubble, toil brings good trouble

September 2023

Attention all witches, warlocks, wizards and muggles - the 3rd Annual Witches Walk is fast approaching!

“We did our first walk September 2021, and only had one month to prep!” laughs organizer Samantha Czank Hill. “Needless to say, we learned all the curves! Still, we had an amazing turnout even during restrictions.”

‘Witches Walks’ are a recent and growing phenomenon, taking place all over the world as a way for women to get away for an evening of entertainment, shopping, learning, and socializing. Some take place in downtown city centres, others in fields and forests across the country. Thunder Bay’s 3rd Annual Witches Walk takes place once again at the Slate River Slaughter Grounds on Hwy 130.

“A Witches Walk is a time to dress up and let your inner witch out,” says co-organizer Debbie Gursky-Christianson. “It’s a fun event with people from all walks of life with different backgrounds and philosophies. We do a unique dance started in Germany (check out the video link below) and it is so much fun.

It is about being creative and having a chance to experience different types of art.”

Samantha attended her first Witches Walk at the Kaleidoscope Gathering outside Ottawa. Debbie attended the Coldwater Witches Walk, another hugely popular event between Orillia and Barrie. Both events have now grown into tourist destinations for their respective communities, something both women could see for our city.

“With our marketing backgrounds we felt this would be a good addition to our wonderful city,” says Samantha. “In our first year, we were limited due to Covid. Now we have a committee and have added mini markets throughout the summer at the property. We have vendors with unique goods and wonderful things to buy and sell.”

Samantha and Debbie run Empowered Creations, a small, local art therapy program aspiring to bring people together for fun, informative, organic, and holistic events (physical, mental, and spiritual). Both women consider themselves very spiritual (they are reiki practitioners) and lean towards a more natural approach to life. They want to educate people on different and alternative lifestyles, with corresponding benefits and healing properties. That’s why the TBWW always supports local charities such as the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Thunder Bay Family Network.

“This year our charity is Elevate NWO,” says Debbie. “We usually pick ones for mental health, as this is very much a need in our city. We are always looking for volunteers and we are a registered business so we can give hours to students too.”

Back in 2021, I was instantly intrigued when I first read about the TBWW on Facebook. Naturally, I was one of the very first attendees, showing up with my ‘coven’ of ThunderCon lady friends all decked out in witchy costume. While it drizzled a bit, I can tell you there is nothing quite like wearing long skirts, buying scented candles, and dancing around a fire with like-minded witchy sisters! Of course, costumes and witchy fashion are not mandatory at the TBWW, but they are most definitely welcome and I’m happy to say I won the contest for best hat that year.

“We started small on our Facebook page,” says Samantha, “And now we have almost 1,000 followers! All ages are welcome so mark your calendars and join us for an evening of witchy fun!”

The 3rd Annual Witches Walk will be held September 30 from 4:00pm to 9:00pm, at the Slate River Slaughter Grounds, 661 Hwy 130, between Slate River Valley and Rosslyn. For a dance primer, check out https://bit.ly/3QD552d on YouTube and for more information, check out their website at www.thunderbaywitcheswalk.square.site or on Facebook.

Heather L. Dickson is a photoshop guru, zoologist and author of 6 novels.

Visit her website at www.hleightondickson.com

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