Anyone on 30A early Thursday morning might have been taken aback by the sight they saw.
Riding on the bike paths on both sides of 30A as well as a few in the street were witches, witches, and more witches — of all sizes, kinds, colors, and descriptions.
There were black-garbed witches, white-garbed witches, green witches, and purple witches. Scary witches, friendly-looking witches, and playful witches, all on bikes, making their way westward on 30A. Some even brought their dogs along for the ride.
Cars lined the road where they stopped and took pictures and video with their phones and cameras. And some were stopped because they could not get down the road on account of the gaggle of witches. But the witches didn't seem to care, as they gaily peddled along, making their way to
This was the 10th annual Halloween morning ride of the Witches of South Walton.
“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,” said Carol Stafford, founder of The Witches of South Walton. “I jokingly suggested that we wear witch hats on Halloween day. Now we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of this local tradition and for a worthy cause.”
It wasn't long before the cast of three began to grow as more local witches wanted to join the fun. Thursday morning's ride totaled more than 100, all of whom paid $15 to ride. The money will be donated to the local Children's Volunteer Health Network, benefiting underinsured local children.
"This was my maiden ride," said recent South Walton transplant Lorre James, "and it was such fun!"
However, not everyone was a fan of the ride. Chris Storey, who has four children in Butler Elementary, sent a letter to organizers, the media and the school district telling them that the witches are “troubling” and that they should steer clear of the school.
“As a parent I would think common sense would tell us it might not be the best idea to greet our children as they arrive at a place where we want them to feel safe and secure with witches making frightening gestures often wearing and carrying items that are not appropriate for children,” he said.
"We see way more smiley faces than not. It's a rare occasion for someone to get upset. However, I apologize if we offended anyone. There will always be the disgruntled and I don't foresee us making any changes," she said.