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Witches trade brooms for paddles at Halloween-themed charity event in Nanaimo

Westwood Lake Witch Paddle benefits Loaves and Fishes food bank and Nanaimo Foodshare

Spookiness and witchery were afoot at a student fundraiser out on the water at Westwood Lake today.

Vancouver Island University Students’ Union held the Westwood Lake Witch Paddle on Saturday, Oct. 29, encouraging people to dress up and go for a paddle with proceeds benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank and Nanaimo Foodshare Society.

“We have pumpkin carving, hot chocolate and coffee … and the kid’s treasure hunt along the main trail as part of the fundraising initiative,” said Janelle Wilson, who organized the event with Paula Zerpa and Sydney Sullivan.

A map was available for children and they were encouraged to walk along the trail. VIU students dressed up and set up along the trail and gave stamps to children.

“Every semester, we do different events for students on campus and part of those events involve engaging the community,” said Sullivan. “This is a way that we can engage the Nanaimo community, but also the campus community together.”

Zerpa said it was good for students.

“Most of our students are international, so it’s nice to bring them together to a community they can call home,” she said.

The organizers estimated 200 people were there at the start and anticipated 500 people throughout the day. Water recreation doesn’t really relate to Halloween, but it was fitting in a way, they said.

“I think for the West Coast, [paddleboarding] is a growing trend, so the paddles are just a unique substitution for witch brooms,” said Wilson.

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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