SPARTA, NJ-Witches were on parade on Saturday, paddleboarding for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Intervention Services or DASI. A coven of about 40 Stand Up Paddle or SUP boarders dressed for the occasion, departing from Beach 5 making their way to Beach 1.

Dodie Guardia and Susan Parrnell cohosted the event that got a lot of interest. It was so popular, they had to have a waiting list, Parnell said.  Beach 5, decorated for Halloween, was packed with family and friends to encourage the witches as they departed.

Guardia said it was an easy choice to donate to DASI. 

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"One of the most difficult decisions we can make in life is the decision to act," Guardia said. "When these women act either to protect their children or to protect themselves, they have already shown so much courage.  We need to feel safe to be able to make informed decisions about our lives.  DASI does just that.  They provide a place for survivors to build their lives from a place of peace, not fear."

The Witches Paddle raised $2,100 for DASI.  

"I've never been more proud of our community," Parnell said. "Residents of Lake Mohawk lined the shores and docks while cheering on the cackling Lake Mohawk Paddling Witches, as they paddled their way down to Lake Mohawk Country Club, where they were greeted by family and friends on the seasonally decorated beach."

The trip down the lake took almost two hours under an overcast sky-perfect weather for a witch paddle parade.  The Marine Patrol boat trailed behind to offer support.

Once they arrived at Beach 1 there were snacks and drinks provided by Lake Mohawk County Club.  LMCC Board President John Stanley judged the costumes, supported by LMCC Event Coordinator Deb Graybill and LMCC Board Member Doug Vance.

The winner Amy Henrie was not only in costume but had a cauldron and black cat decorating her SUP board.  She exemplified the criteria of “originality, creativity, attention to detail and theme,” according to the judges.

“This was a great day,” Graybill said.  “We hope this will become an annual event.”

Henrie won a basket of goodies donated by local businesses;

  • LMCC The Boardwalk Club,
  • LMCC House Committee,
  • Cloveberry,
  • White Deer Inn,
  • Mancuso Salon and Spa,
  • Front Porch Organics,
  • Beciga,
  • Café Pierrot,
  • Greene’s Beans,
  • Sparta Books,
  • Nutty Over Sweets,
  • Brighter than the Sun, SUP and SUP Yoga.

The group assembled for a socially distanced group photo before climbing back onto their boards and heading back.

"It was truly a spectacle to see," Parnell said. 

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