OSWEGO — The COVID-19 pandemic can’t stop the spirit of Halloween as the good witches at the Zonta Club of Oswego say they’ve conjured up a way to continue the scary fun of their annual Witches Ball.
Friday, Oct. 30 will see the Midway Drive-In on county Route 48 in Minetto transformed by power of local magic for a combination live and virtual version of Zonta’s terrifyingly popular benefit party.
According to coven leaders, they plan to call upon the spirits of Hollywood to present three feature film spooktaculars: “Beetlejuice,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975 version)” and “Halloween 2018.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Witches Ball serves as a critical fundraiser for the Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) Services to Aid Families program (SAF). SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County.
“Zonta has supported SAF in many ways for a number of years, but this year has been the most challenging,” said planning committee chair Tammy Elowsky. “We are grateful for the community response the Witches Ball has received in the past and are excited to be bringing it back in this new format.”
SAF provides both residential and non-residential services to victims and survivors of domestic violence. In 2019, SAF received 3,500 hotline calls from consumers and served over 700 people, according to officials.
“Zonta partnered with OCO SAF as a way to honor survivors of domestic violence,” said Zonta Club of Oswego President Sonia Robinson. “The work that SAF does complements our vision of a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential. In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the services provided by OCO SAF are in even higher demand, officials said. Social distancing requirements have put a strain on resources and typical fundraising efforts.
“We are very appreciative of our relationship with the Zonta Club of Oswego,” said OCO SAF Community Response Coordinator Stacie France. “We are thankful to Zonta and the planning committee for finding a way to host the Witches Ball. It is a wonderful event that not only raises funds for SAF, it raises awareness of domestic violence in Oswego County. I invite community members to join us for this year’s all new Witches Ball experience!”
At 5 p.m. Friday Oct. 30, the gates of the Midway Drive-In will open and the screening of the three films will begin at dusk. To add to the fun, guests are encouraged to come in costume and for fans of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Zonta witches will be selling Rocky Horror Survival Kits complete with instructions and all the essential items needed to participate in the late-night cult classic experience.
New to this year’s Witches Ball is the How Fly is Your Ride contest, officials said.
“We’re inviting guests to be creative and decorate their vehicles in their favorite Halloween theme,” said Elowsky. “Funny, scary or terrifying, we want to see a lot filled with cars decorated in clever and imaginative Halloween themes.”
The witches have also cast a spell over social media for a costume and cackle contest. From now until the Witches Ball, participants may take part in the costume contest by uploading a photo or video to the Zonta Club’s Facebook page for a chance to be voted best mask, best costume of a famous witch or best witch’s cackle. The winners will be announced the night of the ball.
To ensure a safe environment, all guests must adhere to CDC guidelines for social distancing and wear a mask whenever out of their car. Refreshments will be available for purchase at the Drive-In snack bar.
“The Witches Ball has become one the area’s most exciting Halloween traditions,” said Elowsky. “Thanks to some creative planning and the support of the Midway Drive-In we are able to continue the tradition of the Witches Ball in a slightly different format.”
Witches Ball proceeds benefit OCO’s SAF program. Donations can be made on the Oswego Zonta Club Facebook event page. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, space is extremely limited.
“Don’t miss out on the Halloween fun. We suggest making your donation in advance to guarantee entrance to the event. If space allows, donations can be made at the gate on a first come first served basis until filled,” said Elowsky.
For more information on the Zonta Club of Oswego’s Witches Ball, sponsorship opportunities, or Zonta membership inquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook.