Wednesday Oct 7 2020
20 years of shenanigans, 20 years of joy, 20 years of memories... It can only mean one thing — 20 years of WitchFest at Gardner Village during 2020!
To mark this magical milestone, we’ve asked for your help. Thanks for submitting your images and memories. We love being a part of your story!
THROUGH YOUR EYES, IN YOUR WORDS
“My mom and I LOVE Witches Night Out and we have been going every year for several years now. Thank you for 20 wonderful years Gardner Village!” -Sydnee Atkinson
“My husband and I love going to WitchFest. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our favorite holiday, not to mention the shops and the foods... It’s our special tradition that we hope to continue for many years to come!” -Heather Shulsen
“My little girl has dressed as Winifred Sanderson at WitchFest for the last three years. Since she’s a natural red head, we thought there's no better costume!” -- Sara Evans
“I grew up going to Gardner Village and WitchFest. I hadn’t been in years, and then I got to take my daughter and sons for the first time!!!” -Breann Cowley
“Circa 2013, 2017, and last year, 2019. Hoping for many more. Thank you for the memories!” –Cecilia Kindell
“Here’s my little love’s first year getting all dressed up.” –Alexa Leifson
"We clearly have a favorite witch." -Brandy Funk
“My mom (Loke) and I love our mother-daughter tradition of attending witch fest! I live in SLC and my mom lives in Kamas so it’s not a short drive! This year we weren’t able to sign up for the dinner and a show on time but we still plan to come for our favorite fall activity.” – Sarah Allen
“My mother, sister, and I have been the Sanderson Sisters for over six years now!” –Danielle Gee
“WitchFest is a yearly tradition and fun for the whole family.” – Brandy Leadbetter
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The Gardner Village witches have cast the greatest of spells on our community. Since these cackling cuties first landed in The Village back in 2000, WitchFest has become a captivating tradition for families and friends during the Halloween season.
This snapshot, taken in the early years of WitchFest, features Lucinda the Witch and Joe Long, Gardner Village co-owner. Up to no good, no doubt!
All of the hocus pocus that makes up today’s WitchFest started simply in 2000 as Witches Night Out. Guests were encouraged to wear whimsical witchhats and enjoy bewitching wonder along luminary-lined pathways. The evening’s activities included a DJ with music, a fortune teller, food, entertainment, and Gardner Village shopping sprees and giveaways. Hundreds of women showed up as playful and whimsical witches, ready to enjoy a ladies’ night out.
Over the years, WitchFest has evolved from this one-evening event into a weeks-long celebration of whimsy, with events and attractions from mid-September to Halloween each year.
Of course, the key to all of this hocus pocus is YOU. Your energy, your smiles, your laughter, your delight in it all… This is what keeps our witches coming back year after year. It puts the spring in our local shop owners’ steps. It puts Gardner Village on the map as THE Halloween destination in Utah. What a treat your sweet tricks have turned out to be!
Darling image courtesy of Sarah Bagley.
A LOOK BACK AT LUCINDA
While much about WitchFest has changed over the years, there has been a pretty wonderful constant from the beginning — Lucinda the Witch! She originally joined this brouhaha as an emcee at Witches Night Out and a witch who took you on a horse-drawn carriage ride telling stories. Today, she’s the “spokeswitch” for Gardner Village. It’s never a dull moment thanks to the wacky ways of Lucinda and her Gardner Village fellow witches. They cast an extra magical spell on the enchantment.
More importantly, Lucinda’s work over the years has included coordinating numerous charitable opportunities for Gardner Village witches, including visits to Primary Children’s Hospital, trips to local schools (where they read with local children and participate in assemblies on Halloween safety), Halloween costume drives for underprivileged children, and more. Thank you, Lucinda and all the Gardner Village witches who’ve dawned witch hats for Gardner Village through the years. We love your hearts and the difference you make!
NOWHERE BUT UP
While this year has had more than its share of tricks up its sleeve, we aren’t letting it put a damper our 20-year WitchFest celebration. It simply means we’ve made a few updates to our fun, including a touchless scavenger hunt, six feet of space (i.e. the length of Lucinda’s broomstick) between our witches and yours, and the addition of masks to the witchy fashion show that is Gardner Village this time of year. To see even more updates, click here.
Giddy up! This adorable image was submitted by Heilit Biehl.
HERE’S TO 20!
Raise your goblets, glasses, and cauldrons, friends. This toast was 20 years in the making. Together, we’ve had one wild ride, haven’t we? From dance parties and shopping sprees to tasty treats and ample witchy entertainment, WitchFest has been a celebration of friendship and time together and family and tradition. It’s a break from the ordinary to enjoy the zany and extraordinary. It’s a highlight of our year at Gardner Village because it’s spent with YOU. Year after year, our witches land and you show up, making this the happiest Halloween haunt in town. Thank you, sincerely, for bringing the heart to our fest. On this, our 20th anniversary, we witch you a VERY merry WitchFest 2020!
Photo of bewitching beauties courtesy of Ann Helmick.
We’ll leave you with a few more snapshots, sure to put a smile on your face faster than the tastiest of spider-eye sandwiches.
Hilarious image courtesy of Breann Cowley.
Hair raising snapshot courtesy of Laurie Tanner.
Pic of lovely ladies courtesy of Lea Smith.
Snapshot of one CUTE little pumpkin, courtesy of Kira Wagner.
Sweetest side-by-side, sent by Rachel Ward.
Dem darling bones provided by Nansi Campos.