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Weekend Ticket: Area witches ready to ride this Friday

 

NATCHEZ — This weekend might just “put a spell on you” as local witches line up for the third-annual Natchez Witches Ride this Friday on the bluff.

Participants will mount their brooms at 5:45 p.m. on Broadway Street for the eight-block flight through downtown Natchez, which starts at 6 p.m., committee member Mary Ellen Eldridge said. Registration starts at 4 p.m. and costs $25 per person and will take place at the gazebo on the Natchez Bluff, Eldridge said. T-shirts will also be available for purchase for $20 each.

All proceeds will benefit the Mississippi Spay and Neuter Natchez Fund to decrease the homeless pet population in the city, Eldridge said.

“It is a really fun event,” she said. “We encourage people to come dressed as their favorite witch or warlock and decorate their bicycle or broom.”

Attendees can ride a bicycle or walk and may bring candy to throw on Franklin, Jefferson, Canal and Pearl streets, Eldridge said, and participants are also encouraged to bring their pets.

Prize packages, medals and a trophy will be given out for winners of best broom, best furry friend and best overall witch — who will earn bragging rights until next year’s ride, Eldridge said.

After the ride, Bowies Tavern will host an after-party that is free with admission, featuring live music, a “witches pong” competition and “witches brew,” a secret and tasty concoction that is available with or without alcohol added.

“It’s an unusual event,” she said. “As an adult, you get to have fun by going out dressed like someone you’re not — and it’s for a worthy cause.”

Ginna Holyoak, the event founder, said 100 percent of the money earned will be added to the Mississippi Spay and Neuter Natchez Fund — created in 2011 to award vouchers to families who may not otherwise have the means have their pets fixed.

“We’ve fixed almost 2,000 animals since 2011,” Holyoak said. “Each one fixed ultimately saves animals’ lives.”

Last year, the witches ride raised approximately $3,000 for the fund, which helped Natchez receive more than 200 vouchers that are accepted by both Bluff City Veterinary Hospital and the Natchez Veterinary Clinic, Holyoak said.

Vouchers are sent out on the 15th and 30th of each month, but only a limited number are available, she said. Those who would like to register can call Mississippi Spay and Neuter at 866-901-7729 for more information.

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