Witches, warlocks and community members congregate for Witches Tea
SHEPHERDSTOWN — A skeleton silently tinkles across the ivory keys, as palm and tarot readers offered their services to the 50 community members at the annual Witches Tea BooFest celebration at the War Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon.
The event was founded by “Witch-in-Chief” Dana Mitchell, and although she once again led the event, this year, Mitchell was working with the Shepherdstown Visitors Center, turning the event into a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization.
“Dana Mitchell designed this, and she has done it for four years on her own. this year, she graciously let us take over this as a fundraiser for the Shepherdstown Visitors Center. This is our first fundraiser event — we’ve never done a fundraiser, but we thought this would be a great opportunity and would help fill the BooFest calendar,” said SVC Board President Jan Hafer, as she unstacked cups in preparation for the event. “We have a newly formed fundraising committee for the visitor’s center, and we wanted to get our feet wet with this event.”
According to Hafer, the proceeds from the tea would be used to help cover the SVC’s BooFest, DogFest and Christmas in Shepherdstown expenses. The tea was catered by The Devonshire Arms Cafe and Pub, which Mitchell had used as the former event location.
“Dana’s the mistress of ceremonies, but we’ve taken over the event. She has wonderful activities planned — games and stories. We have three palm readers and Halloween-themed door prizes,” Hafer said, mentioning the door prizes included work by local artists, the “black cat” bottle of wine from Grapes and Grains Gourmet and a commemorative tea mug.
As Hafer continued preparing for the Witches Tea in the kitchen, SVC Director Marianne Davis began decorating the tea tables in the main room with spooky lenticular printed photographs and colorful glass bottles filled with potions. Davis didn’t need to put up too many decorations on Saturday afternoon, thanks to the Shepherdstown Community Club, who allowed the decorations from the Friday evening Vampire Ball to stay up for the Witches Tea.
“The goals of the visitor’s center and the community club are different, but we work wonderfully together,” Davis said. “Last night, the event in this room helped raise funds for the Shepherdstown Community Club. Today, it’s to raise money for the visitor’s center — so we’re helping each other out.”
The best thing about BooFest, according to Davis, is the variety of events in the festival calendar.
“I think the secret to BooFest is not just the number of events, but the variety,” Davis said. “There are so many activities that are designed for children and their families. There are others designed for older people — the Vampire Ball, the Creepy Cocktail Crawl and the Haunted Walk, which is pretty scary. It’s a wonderful time for the community.”