The Witches of Delray trade ‘brooms’ for bikes on Halloween

The Witches of Delray are taking flight on Halloween, but instead of riding brooms and casting spells, they’re pedaling bicycles and fundraising.

The Witch Ride attracts dozens of women clad in their spookiest gowns on tricked out bikes. The $20 entry fee benefits the Achievement Centers for Children and Families.

The 4-mile trek is suited to cyclists of all skill levels. It’s not a race.

“The route is easy,” said organizer and alpha witch Andie DeVoe. Rest stops are scheduled along the way. Strong riders are serving as traffic witches to help navigate intersections.

Starting downtown at 8 a.m. on Saturday, the group will head east to A1A, circle Anchor Park, fly through Pineapple Grove and convene at the Delray GreenMarket in Old School Square about 10 a.m.

Joining opening day events at the farmers market, the cycling “coven” has invoked a contest there. At 10:30 a.m. a panel of judges will award best costume, best broom (bicycle) and best cackle. Suzanne Boyd, anchor of WPEC-Ch. 12 morning news, will serve as emcee.

Rider Jane Ratcliff has spent two weeks decorating her bike to face the competition.

“I love to do crafty things, and this is an excuse to be crafty,” she said. Outfitting her “broom” and costume add to the excitement and camaraderie of the event, she said.

The witches’ ride took off in Delray four years ago. It was founded by Lori Klinger after she moved to town from South Walton, Fla. There, a group of mothers started riding in 2003. They’d pedal past their children’s school bus as a shenanigan.

The antic evolved into a fundraiser for children.

The Witches of Delray choose to help youngsters through the Achievement Centers. Last year 40 riders raised $1,500. More are expected to join this year since participation in the ride has doubled every year.

Klinger has since moved to Texas, and DeVoe took the lead.

“I’ve always been a Halloween freakā€¦ I just love it. That’s why I got the broomstick passed to me,” DeVoe said. When the 44- year-old isn’t planning eerily fun festivities, she works in private practice as a lymphatic drainage therapist.

A part of DeVoe’s inspiration for the event is to encourage the sport of cycling. Early on she was intimidated by busy roadways. The witches’ ride sparked a passion. Now she rides often.

“It’s not just being seen, but riding Atlantic Avenue, A1A past the beach, historic Swinton Avenue. They’re cool places to ride your bike, fun places to see and it opened my world a bit,” DeVoe said.

Registration is open on WitchesofDelray.org. No bike? No problem. Rentals are available for a 10 percent discount at Richwagen’s Bike & Sport. Call 561-272-2453.

How Can You Help?

Whether it is through a monetary contribution or donation of your time, your commitment will be making a difference in the lives of our community's most vulnerable children.

Beneficiaries of the Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments.

Visit www.GreatCharityChallenge.com to see how this equestrian event benefits South Florida charities.

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