Oak. Plant Shop to Celebrate Block Party for the Modern Witch on June 21st

Bloomington Oak Factory Store. will welcome guests to their summer solstice Block Party for the Modern Witch at 4 p.m. on June 21 at the corner of Fourth Street and Grant Street.

Oak., in partnership with the Bloomington Witch Collective, Moon Stones and multiple local artists, will offer several spiritual and witchcraft activities. The free event will include a collaborative drumming circle, meditation and ritual, chair massage, bone readings, tarot readings, Norse pagan ritual objects, astrology readings, plant-inspired photo booth and several stalls with local artwork, jewelry, crystals, and plants.

Musical entertainment, sponsored by a local music store TD CDs and LPswill feature performances by Busman’s Holiday, Hogbite, Erby Burnfield and Sam Sheffield.

Talia Halliday, owner of Oak., said the event will thank the Bloomington community for their support from Oak. opened in June 2020. While Oak. was scheduled to open in March of that year, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Halliday’s plans to open the store in person.

Because Halliday had a supportive community built from his other local business, Bring together, she said the Bloomington community and IU students gave Oak. a “big hug” at the opening of the store.

“Honestly, those first few months, that first year, have been pretty amazing for us,” Halliday said. “We got a ton of support.”

The block party will not only celebrate Oak’s second anniversary, but will also celebrate the summer solstice. Halliday said she prefers to organize events around astrological phases or cycles of the moon, so the solstice seemed like the perfect time.

“It’s just something that’s really close to my heart to do events based on the phases of the moon,” Halliday said. “My mom always cut my hair according to the phases of the moon, so it’s just something I’ve always done.”

Halliday said she hopes the “modern witch” block party will expand people’s perception of what witchy lifestyles can look like. The word “witch” often carries negative connotations that even Halliday said can be hard to overlook.

“I really want everyone to feel welcome,” Halliday said. “Whether you’re a practicing witch, or you think it’s fun to read your tarot cards, or you’re just curious. I want all ages to be able to get out there and see what the witch community here in Bloomington has to offer.

Halliday contacted Kara Bookwalter, who launched the Bloomington Witch Collective discord server in February 2021, to help organize the event.

For Bookwalter, the Collective is like a church community, where she and her friends can discuss their practices and learn from each other.

“People come and go from Bloomington a lot,” Bookwalter said. “I want a place where I can still hang out with friends.”

Bookwalter said that at the Block Party, the Bloomington Witch Collective can serve as a point of contact for curious locals, whether they’re looking for a community of witches or just looking to learn more about witchcraft in general.

“An event like this highlights real witches,” Bookwalter said. “Somebody can come in and see and recognize like, ‘Oh, these are just real people.’ “Oh, they just do fun, clever stuff.” Learn a little more and just check out this stranger.

Due to construction around Fourth and Grant streets, guests are encouraged to walk or park near Kirkwood Avenue. This event is free and open to the public.

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