WELLSBORO — The witches stood around the edge of the dance floor at the Wellsboro Moose Lodge, waiting. Just waiting.
There are tall witches and short witches; young and old witches; blonde, gray, red and black haired witches and a pair of warlocks. Glamorous witches sway across the room in velvet, satin and lace — black, of course. There are scary witches with green skin, warty noses and pointy fingernails. There’s a faerie, a warlock, Salem witch and run-of-the mill folks in witch garb.
They have gathered for the final rehearsal before their first performance of the Brooms & Witches Dance, set for Halloween night during Wellsboro’s parade. The event was moved forward a day due to a forecast of rain.
Covington resident Shirley Welch, along with Bunny and Willow Lockett from Enchanted Hollow in Wellsboro, decided to form a group to dance in this year’s parade. Since September, more than 40 people have been meeting weekly to learn and perfect the dance moves to German pop artist Peter Fox’s “ Schüttel deinen Speck,” or “Shake Your Bacon.”
“I was very surprised and overwhelmed to have so many like-minded people want to have fun,” said Welch.
They line up, the music starts and the dance begins. The broom is a prerequisite for the dance and for any self-respecting witch. Most have given their broom partner a name.
In synchronicity they dance, coin-decorated hips bobbing in rhythm to the music, moving around the broom with a flick of the hand and a small kick that sometimes display a glimpse of traditional striped witch stockings.
It’s been fun, said participants. Devin Casebolt moved to Wellsboro from Ohio nine months ago.
“It’s a fun way to be part of the community,” he said. Learning the dance wasn’t difficult, he added. The most time-consuming aspect was gathering his Greek god Pan-inspired costume, the fur for his arms and legs, horn flute and more.
Kelsi Keck was inspired by faeries, wearing a simple off-white dress, sandals and flowers in her hair.
“It was a fun thing to do and I met all these people I didn’t even know though I’ve lived in Wellsboro for 19 years,” said Keck.
Vikki Erb traveled from Liberty to be with “my fellow witches.”
“This is wonderful to be with so many like-minded witches,” said Erb. She was inspired by witches of Ireland, as represented by her broom Ervena, the dragon teeth, rat’s head and shrunken head decorating her body.
“I’m having a blast. I can’t wait to do this next year,” she said.
Following rehearsal, Welch and the Locketts presented certificates of participation, thank you card and affirmation to each participant. Organizers are planning to hold the event again