The Kimmswick Merchant Association will not be able to celebrate a milestone this fall – the 10th anniversary for the annual Witches Night Out event.
The annual event, which was scheduled for Oct. 10, has been canceled because of the number of local residents testing positive for COVID-19, event organizer Valerie Ahlemeyer said.
“There is no way to do that event safely, especially when we close the town down and bus them in,” Ahlemeyer said. “It was horrible to have to make this call. When we posted it on our Facebook page (on Sunday, Aug. 9), I watched the responses. Everyone is sad and bummed out about it, but they are understanding. They said, ‘Thank you for making that call; it keeps everyone safe.’”
Typically, more than 4,000 women attend the Kimmswick Witches Night, Ahlemeyer said.
She said it was especially difficult to call off Witches Night Out this year since it would have been the 10th year for the event.
“That was another thing we took into consideration; if we can’t do our 10th anniversary right and safely, let’s postpone and plan it right,” Ahlemeyer said. “Our hopes are to have the big 10th anniversary next year.”
The event normally includes a costume contest, music, dancing, shopping, concessions and more.
Ahlemeyer said she does not know how much money Witches Night Out brings in for the Merchant Association, although she said the group donates some of the funds to the town of Kimmswick, the Kimmswick Visitor Center and local charities. Some of the money is donated to Windsor High School organizations since students help run the event, Ahlemeyer added.
“Windsor High School helps us with so many different jobs with the event,” she said.
Witches Night Out was the second Kimmswick event scheduled for October that had to be canceled. City officials announced earlier this month that it had called off the annual Apple Butter Festival, which typically draws more than 100,000 to the town over the two-day festival.
However, the Kimmswick Merchant Association said plans are still in the works for some fall and winter events, including Deer Widow’s Weekend, Christmas Open House, Small Business Saturday, Christmas Festival & Cookie Walk, Elf on the Shelf and Ugly Sweater Day. Information about those events may be found on the Kimmswick event website, gokimmswick.com, on the GoKimmswick Facebook page or by calling the Visitor Center at 636-464-6464.
Ahlemeyer said not only is the city adversely affected by the cancellation of the annual festivals and other events, but the merchants, too, are feeling the effects.
“We are suffering just as much as the city is, and we want people to know we are still open,” she said. “We are encouraging people to still come to Kimmswick, regardless of the major events that have been canceled. We need their support to keep our small businesses open.”
Ahlemeyer said a special event is being planned to boost business at the town’s shops and restaurants.
“We are working out the details, but in October, we will do a month-long event called ‘Fall in love with Kimmswick,’” she said.