The Real Witches Ball 2000
Article Specs |
Article ID: 3045
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,882
Times Read: 14,819
Author: Patricia Telesco [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: October 29th. 2000
Times Viewed: 14,819
Event Date(s): October 29-31st. 2000
Autumn's spirit greeted us with an abundance of colors as we left NY friday afternoon for Columbus OH. It was the first time the family was going with me to a festival. That combined with the thought of a 6 hour drive with three children in the car made me just a little jittery, but thankfully the Gods and Goddeses of travel were smiling on us. The weather was lovely and the trip went off without a hitch.
The Witches Ball is, for lack of a better description, a huge pagan street fair that takes up several blocks of North High Street on the closest weekend to Halloween every year (see www.neopagan.com ). It is a wholly FREE event attended this year by well over a thousand people (that's just those who signed in). The cost for the celebration is undertaken in whole by the owner of Salem West as a thank you party for the community. And inevitably at least one or two few interesting things happen every year that become legendary LOL. This year the entire event was e-cast live over AOL.
Anyway, we arrived in Columbus at 2 in the afternoon to be greeted at Salem West (the central hub for the ball) by the usual plethora of personalities. I was overjoyed to see Sirona Knight and Dorothy Morrison again, two authors that I work with frequently. These two ladies are delightful and truly fun. Additionally AJ Drew, the owner of Salem West and author of Wicca for Men, was waiting with hugs and last minute programming changes. My children ran merrily through the store looking at all the "shiney things" while mommy set up to work -- while that might not sound amusing, it was a pretty funny scene since I'm not sure who was oohing and ahing more at the jewelry and pottery - the kids or the adults!
Friday night's activities included an opening ritual, a wonderful new lecture by MR Sellars about Fiction and how it relates to the Wiccan community, drumming (of course) and live music into the wee hours of the morning. Like any good "cindarella", however, I snuck off to the hotel at midnight. Activities the next day included ten workshops, soap making, elemental balancing, dreams, spellcasting, and mantras.
The highlight of Saturday by far however was the parade of pagans down to the main ritual. This was the first year that Salem West actually took out a parade permit so that hundreds of pagans, wiccans, and associates could walk down North High Street chanting "we are free, blessed be!" under police escort to the annual ritual! This was followed by quite a patriotic display at the ritual, which seemed very apt for an election year. It seemed that even the Christians who were witnessing and singing during the activities to try and offset the magickal influx in town were somewhat surprised and taken back that our community cared so much about our country and our freedoms. It was a moment that made everyone proud. So much so that the police at the end of the ritual continued to work in their off duty hours to help with cross walks and traffic, making sure the pagans were safe and no trouble erupted from the Christians!
Unfortunately we could not stay for Sunday's events, but I cannot say enough good things about this event. It's casual.. and there's no fire circle, but the speakers, staff, and attendees were first rate all around.
Location: Amherst, New York
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