If you’re from St. James or drove through the North Shore hamlet you know of Winnie the Witch.
She’s the 30-foot tall structure that sits along Route 25A at Wicks Farm & Garden.
“The whole town has fond memories of her,” said Victoria Johnston, a St. James native. “When I used to pass by with my family, we used to wave and say ‘Hi, Winnie!”
The iconic landmark is even recognized across the states as a top roadside attraction.
Built in 1976 for the annual Halloween experience at Wicks Farm (which no longer happens), the iconic hag has fallen in disrepair in recent years.
“It’s been redone three times, but Hurricane Sandy really took her out big time,” said Johnston.
Some of the damages include holes in the structure, a bent base, and her hat, which used to stand straight up, has fallen apart.
That’s where Johnston and her boyfriend Kenny Maher stepped in.
“We just love [Winnie],” said Maher, who owns St. James Funeral Home. “It’s part of the folklore in St. James.”
So the couple reached out to the farm’s owner, Dave Wicks, to see how they help restore the witch back to its 1976 glory.
He’s letting them take a crack at it.
“Timing is everything,” said Maher, “with Lake Avenue being redone, it’s good to beautify this part of St. James too.”
Their idea gained instant traction when they shared it on social media.
“People have been reaching out to see how they can help and donate,” said Maher.
The couple’s goal is to raise around $30,000, which would cover the cost to fix the structural damages, as well as give the witch a much-needed facelift.
You can click here to donate via a GoFundMe page.
The two plan on starting the project “as soon as possible” and project at least six months to complete the restoration.
“With everything that’s going in the world right now, this is a nice thing to get behind,” said Johnston. “It’s not political, it’s just fun and sharing memories.”
Make sure to check back with GreaterSmithtown for updates on the revitalization of Winnie the Witch.
Top: Victoria Johnston and Kenny Maher outside of Winnie the Witch at Wicks Farms in St. James (credit: Nicholas Esposito).