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Whimsically Witchy Halloween-Inspired Fundraiser to Support Public School Art and Music

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A Staunton mom has combined her love of crafting and her passion for arts education into a Halloween-inspired fundraiser to benefit elementary public-school art and music programs. “Whimsically Witchy” is a family-friendly Halloween display located across the street from McSwain Elementary School in Staunton. The Halloween display will be up from October 3-31. The display is free, but visitors are asked to donate to the art and music programs through the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge payment portal via QR code displayed on yard signs.

“Whimsically Witchy” is the brainchild of Camille Dierksheide, a local mom and classical singer. Dierksheide designed and hand-crafted the display with recycled materials, electronics and building supplies she and her husband purchased as well as generous donations of materials, time and talent from local businesses, family and friends all over the country. The display features:

• A cast of six life-size witches in period dress made from recycled vinegar bottles and garbage bags;
• A haunted forest of seven-foot trees with light-up faces;
• The “Booridge Gardens,” a cemetery of hand-made head stones, featuring the graves of Halloween icons including the Sanderson Sisters; and
• Motorized flying bats atop nine-foot Grecian Doric columns.

“I started extreme crafting during the pandemic so I wouldn’t lose my mind,” Dierksheide says. “The result was a front yard Halloween display that received so much attention we decided to use it for some greater purpose.” Last year, “Whimsically Witchy” raised over $2400 for McSwain Elementary’s art and music programs. This year, all proceeds will be divided equally and go towards supporting arts education at Bessie Weller, McSwain and Ware Elementary Schools in Staunton.

“Growing up, music and art were profound influences in my life,” Dierksheide says. “Despite the arts being an essential element of a first-class education, they are chronically underfunded.”

“I’m profoundly grateful for the support from Whimsically Witchy, as the fund contribution enriched our shows and empowered the students to pursue their musical passions and creativity.” ~Berkeley Harner, Music Teacher, McSwain Elementary School

“…It was amazing to have a supplemental money source to get the permanent (pricey) items and to purchase the additional consumable items for the art program.” ~Tina Purdy, Art Teacher, McSwain Elementary

The Whimsically Witchy Halloween display is located at 1101 North Coalter Street in Staunton, across from the McSwain Elementary School Field. Details about the display and information on how to donate are available on the “Whimsically Witchy” website:

Green “Halloween House” Across from the McSwain Elementary School Field
1101 North Coalter Street
Staunton, 24401

Oct 3, 2023 to Oct 31, 2023
06:00 pm - 09:30 pm

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