PEMBROKE — George Walker makes a very ugly woman. But that’s kind of the point.
After all, he’s pretending to be a witch. And we’re not talking about the beautiful kind one would find in the Harry Potter films or American Horror Story. We mean the hook-nose, covered-in-warts type.
If that doesn’t get a laugh, his horrible puns will.
Walker owns Holiday Hollow, the mini Renaissance Fair with a Halloween and pirate theme, with his wife Barbara. They’ve been running a series of stage shows on seven acres of wooded land on Main Road every October for the past 23 years.
For several years now, Walker has been dressing up as Winnie the Wacky Witch for the Magical Cooking Show. He’s doing it again this fall with two exciting changes: a new permanent stage in the Spooky Forest and the addition of Lindsey Zanghi, Walker’s youngest granddaughter.
“Wacky Witch used to be right outside these doors,” Walker said, pointing to the rear of Yorkshire Hall where the indoor stage is located. “We really didn’t like that backdrop; it’s just a white wall. Now, being in the woods, we hope that will make it extra special. We also hope to set up a few gags along the way, funny signs and things like that.”
Zanghi, a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Pembroke Middle School, is playing Itch the Littlest Witch. She is the Wacky Witch’s assistant.
“I’m his sous chef,” Zanghi cheerfully explained on a recent visit to the Hollow.
Zanghi has taken over the role from her sister, Lexie, who played the part for six years.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the show before, the premise is that the man who is supposed to ensure the witch arrives for the cooking show on time gets forced into pretending to be her and going on stage. With the help of Itch, who rolls her eyes and buries her face in her hands at every bad joke, the “witch” makes a stew with unappetizing ingredients like pirate teeth and cat vomit. It’s filled with bad puns that Walker calls triple-groaners.
“He reaches into the cauldron, pulls out a fish and says ‘something fishy is going on,’” Lindsey said.
“That sets off a series of five fish puns, and she just shakes her head,” Walker added.
Other changes this year include the new “Slide the Plank” attraction and added special effects for the Victorian Villain Show.
“You can also find out your pirate name,” Walker said. “That costs a doubloon, but a quarter will do.”
Admission is $13 for adults, $12 for children ages 3-10, and free for children 2 and under.
Holiday Hollow, 1410 Main Rd., is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October – except for Halloween – and Columbus Day. For more information, visit www.holiday-hollow.com.