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Headless Horseman rides again in Port Ryerse

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Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman made their annual return to the hamlet of Port Ryerse on Halloween.

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The characters, made famous in the story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, have been popping up in the Norfolk County community for 15 years.

Charlotte Elliott, who takes on the role of the Headless Horseman, started the tradition in 2007.

“I find it amazing how much the community seems to love it,” she said the day after the event.

And they love it.

A large crowd of children dressed in Halloween costumes and adults gathered at the Hamlet’s Stone Bridge to welcome their Halloween guests on October 31.

The procession included Elliott and her husband, Adam, as well as Lorraine Fletcher as Ichabod Crane. Karen Smout, who rode a horse named Yahzi, led the procession through the community.

Elliott’s horse, Freebird, also played a prominent role. Fletcher used a special non-toxic paint to create a skeleton effect on the horse.

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Unlike several other events that have been put on hold, the tradition has continued throughout the pandemic due to a set itinerary that allowed for physical distancing, Elliott said.

“Apart from handing out candy, it’s a contactless event,” she said. “So we felt it was safe to continue doing this during the pandemic and many people told us how grateful they were as it gave a sense of ‘normalcy’ during those tumultuous years.”

Although the goal is to entertain, in recent years it has empowered people to help those in need.

Community members Jack and Sandy Addison organized a fundraiser for the local food bank. The Addisons are also the owners of the Yazhi horse.

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