Paddleboarding coven conjures up a magical afternoon on Dillon Reservoir to celebrate the arrival of spooky season
On Saturday, Sept. 24, folks passing by the Dillon Reservoir may have spotted a coven of floating witches.
Though it may seem hilarious or even confusing for some, organizer Tanya Barnicoat from Glenwood Springs said it’s the perfect way to say goodbye to summer.
As fall descends upon the mountains, paddlers will have to pack up their boards, but with Halloween —Barnicoat’s favorite holiday — right around the corner, she said this was the perfect excuse to don costumes and have one more fun day out on the water.
Called Witches, Warlocks and Magical SUP Pups, Barnicoat created the event and Facebook page to gather fellow mountain-town residents for the fall celebration. The event reached all kinds of Colorado water sport pages, bringing in almost 350 responses and 30 RSVPs.
Participants gathered at Giberson Bay, where they kicked off two hours of fun.
From the bay, Barnicoat — wearing a long black dress and pointed witch hat — led her flight of witches to an island just off the shore, where people could paddle around, talk and “just have fun” Barnicoat said.
“It kind of reminds me of something like the Wizard of Oz,” Barnicoat said with a laugh. “You know, you can hear the music in the background and you’re just like paddling away in your witch costume.”
Barnicoat was inspired to have a paddleboarding witch event in Summit County after participating in the more well-known event at Chatfield Reservoir, a lake south of Littleton, Colorado.
Kelsey Zabrusky and Katie Gallagher, two college friends, came all the way from Golden, Colorado to participate.
They had originally planned to attend the 2022 Official Witch Paddle at Chatfield Reservoir later in the month, but they said the timing of this event was perfect — especially as the aspens change color. The Chatfield Reservoir event will not be held until Oct. 23.
Zabrusky donned a neon-orange wig and a cape for the occasion, while Gallagher was decked out with an orange hat and a matching black cape.
“Usually, you don’t want stuff in your way while moving and paddling,” Zabrusky said, pushing the black fabric out of the way as she smiled.
Gallagher laughed once she noticed Zabrusky had tucked her cape into her lifejacket.
With a quote from The Incredibles movie, Zabrusky replied, “Edna Mode said, ‘No capes!”
Paddleboarders Stacie Jones and Stella Callahan attached glittery cats and cauldrons to their boards and brought a cooler full of dry ice to increase the drama.
“I was so excited to see this in Dillon this year,” Jones said. “Last year they were all down in Denver and Colorado Springs, so to have one up here is exciting.”
Barnicoat also said Summit County was the perfect location for the event because of its centrality. That way, people from Denver, the mountains and surrounding areas could all meet.
“It’s a fun group of people that get together,” Jones said. “I love the costumes, I love the excitement and it can only happen once a year.”
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