If you ever attended a beer festival and thought to yourself, “This is fun, but it’s just not freaking me out enough,” Witch-Craft, which takes place 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct 16, at Paradise Lakes Campgrounds in Hammonton, is gonna scratch you right where you itch.
Essentially a combination Halloween party/boozy festival, Witch-Craft takes the fun of a simple night enjoying some amazing craft beers and cocktails with friends and throws in a creepy setting deep in the woods, blood-dripping costumes, séances and random people literally screaming bloody murder.
Sound like fun? It will be.
“We did (the now defunct horror fest) Bizarre AC for so many years and, of course, we know a little about how to run a beer fest with the success of the Atlantic City Beer & Music Fest, so we combined the two, and that’s how Witch-Craft came to be,” says Jon Henderson, owner of Good Time Tricycle Productions, the company behind Witch-Craft and many other popular events in our area. “It’s gonna be a lot of fun, and people are going to enjoy it. We are encouraging everyone to dress up and have a blast!”
The scene of the crime“This is exactly what Camp Crystal Lake looks like,” Henderson says, referencing the notorious summer camp where hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhees stalks his victims in the “Friday the 13th” film franchise.
Tucked deep in the woods of Hammonton, Paradise Lakes Campgrounds sets the terrifying tone with a foreboding sense of being in the middle of nowhere. And guests who attended the inaugural Witch-Craft back in 2019 won’t have any level of familiarity with it, because it’s the first time Witch-Craft has been held there.
“The original location at Lake Lenape in Mays Landing is currently under construction. And we wouldn’t have been able to create the kind of experience we wanted with all the construction and everything going on, so we needed to switch venues. And when we were thinking of where to hold Witch-Craft, I thought of Paradise Lakes, and something just clicked in my head. It’s perfect. And it’s not a frequently used location, so it lends itself to being spooky,” Henderson says.
*Paradise Lakes Campground is a bit tricky to find and parking is limited, so it’s strongly suggested that patrons attending Witch-Craft use the off-site parking and shuttle options, which are are free and located at Our Lady of Mount Carmel at 298 Tilton Street in Hammonton.
The brews and the boozeOne of the toughest parts about attending either a beer fest or a festival focused on a particular spirit, is that there always seems to be one person in the group that doesn’t drink beer or doesn’t like hard liquor. But with Witch-Craft, everybody wins, as the focus is on both, with more than 60 providers of craft beverages of all styles.
Want a great local ale? No problem. Check out a variety of great brews from places like 13th Child Brewery, Ludlam Island Brewery, Mudhen Brewing Co. and more.
Is cider more your thing? You’re covered — try one of the fine libations from Original Sin Hard Cider.
Do you drink nothing but fancy cocktails made with fine spirits? You’re in luck — Blue Rascal Distillery, Mr. Fingers Alibi Gin and Lazy Eye Distillery will all be there, plus many more.
Hard seltzer fan? Yup, that’s here too.
Hard Iced Coffee? We’re surprised that’s even a thing, but yeah, they’ve got it.
Nobody gets left out at Witch-Craft, and that includes designated drivers who can purchase tickets at the door for $25. Designated driver tickets do not sell out.
Ghoulish grubEating brains zombie-style is fun and all, but it can get old after a while. Luckily Witch-Craft rounded up some of the best eats from local spots like Essl’s Dugout, Josie Kelly’s Public House, Jay’s Crab Shack, Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House and more to keep you more than satisfied.