Water witches – Who needs a broom when you can paddle your own canoe?

October 2022 Posted in Community, Events & Holidays, For Kids, Outdoor Life

By Melissa Wagoner

Witches young and old met at dusk on Friday, Oct. 7 at the Silverton Reservoir and held the inaugural Silverton Witch Paddle. Taking to the water rather than the skies on all manner of crafts, from stand-up paddle boards to kayaks, an estimated 30 witch-garbed enthusiasts celebrated the season with camaraderie the likes of which many hadn’t known since before the COVID pandemic began.

“Now that we’re through COVID it’s nice to do things that are fun and light- hearted and not a big deal,” organizer Heather Desmarteau-Fast said. The event turned out to be far more popular than she expected. 

“I put it out there to every female in my friend group,” Desmarteau-Fast said, and the gathering grew to include not only Silvertonians but women from as far away as Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington. 

“I don’t know if I’ll advertise it next year or keep it word-of-mouth,” Desmarteau-Fast said. While she was excited to see so many participants, she is hesitant to lose the event’s organic feel. 

The Friday flotilla of witches on the Silverton Reservoir.

The Friday flotilla of witches on the Silverton Reservoir.

“The only requirement was to dress up and be nice!” Desmarteau-Fast laughed. 

By all accounts, everyone in attendance did just that. 

“I’m a sucker for anything that requires dressing up,” attendee Amoreena Martinez said. 

“This was a great opportunity for my daughter and I to get in the spirit and do something outdoors with others from our community. The amazing weather helped. It was definitely a must-do adventure.”

Also excited to share the experience with their daughter were Danielle Heinzman-Baker and Brianna Wolterman. 

“[W]e wanted to share an experience with her that brought our community together,” Wolterman said. “In times like this, when people are more isolated and have less opportunity to connect with others, it felt like an important experience…”

“I love that our community gets together and does things like this,” attendee Nicole Beaver said. “Not many places are like us.”

Which is why Desmarteau-Fast is already making plans for next year, when the witches will take to the water again.

“I think I’ve found my coven,” she said.

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