Stories, photos by Jill Beckel
Do you consider yourself a wizard, witch or just an ordinary muggle? If you don’t know what we’re talking about, you must have been living under a rock for the past 15 years. Wizards and muggles alike flocked to Chestnut Hill, PA for the annual Harry Potter Festival on Oct. 16 to 17th where Chestnut Hill turned into the much-loved fictional wizarding world of Harry Potter. The magic-filled weekend started with a Harry Potter Pub Crawl. True, there’s not much drinking in J. K. Rowling‘s books or in the movies, but the Hogwarts students did really seem to enjoy those butterbeers! Who really needs an excuse to do a pub crawl anyway?
From 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday night, ticket-holders to the pub crawl were in awe as Germantown Avenue was turned into Hogsmeade right before their eyes. There were lots of potions to be enjoyed including butterbeer, pumpkin beer and special wizard sodas as the main highlights. Everyone stopped by pubs all along the street like Iron Hill Brewery, Tavern on the Hill, McNally’s Tavern, Campbell’s Place, Paris Bistro, and Chestnut Grill. Registered pub crawlers also received a T-shirt, glow-in-the-dark wand and wristband. Even without a pub crawl wristband, muggles and wizards could still stop by any one of the bars to enjoy a wizardly brew as well.
Costumes were highly encouraged and almost everyone participated by dressing like their favorite Harry Potter characters. It seems too hard to choose just one favorite, so a classic Gryffindor student uniform complete with a red tie and red and gold scarf it was. There were many others in school uniforms, but also a wide assortment of each and every character from the books (although only ONE Voldemort sighting). It was truly magical seeing everyone’s creativity and joy of being that character for a night. There were impromptu duels on the streets and photos taken when one family member “found” another one. People even acted out scenes from the movie like when Voldemort demanded to see Draco Malfoy’s “dark mark.”
On Saturday, Potter fans of all ages got to enjoy the festival with sorting hat demonstrations, Harry Potter sweets and treats, a scavenger hunt, live reading of the books, and film screenings. It was truly a “wicked” weekend for all who came. If you are a Harry Potter fan, it’s one annual weekend you sure don’t want to miss.
(Harry Potter and his friends’ closing signature for the Marauder’s Map, a magical document that reveals all of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry‘s secrets and people’s whereabouts.)