Kids and adults alike, grab your wand and apparate to Chestertown Sept. 26-27, 2014, for the first Chestertown Harry Potter Festival.
Wizards and muggles (non-magical people) of all ages will be spellbound by the things to do and special activities lined up for the magical event.
Family-friendly activities range from quidditch and dueling in the park to a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt and a Hogwarts party just for kids. Chestertown shops and restaurants transform into places from J.K. Rowling’s books, including the Leaky Cauldron, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Flourish and Blott’s Books and other magical places.
The festival officially kicks off Friday, Sept. 26, 6-9 p.m., at “Hogwarts” (Garfield Center for the Arts) with a costume contest, wizard photo booth, magical games and entertainment. Vice Squad, a classic rock party band, will play, and an award-winning magician, Ian Flinn, will mix modern magic with a touch of wizardry.
Most events are free and open to all ages, but two Saturday evening events have limited capacity and require pre-purchased tickets: one specifically for adults and another for Potter-loving tweens. Drop the kids off at “Hogwarts” and head to the Leaky Cauldron for an adult Potter party. Click here for tickets to these Harry Potter events.
- House Party at the Leaky Cauldron, 6-9 p.m.: Adults ages 21 and older enjoy Harry Potter-inspired drinks, food, trivia games and prizes, and the wizard tunes of the Blibbering Humdingers; $30 with cash bar, at JR’s Past-Time Pub, 37 High St.
- Kid’s Night at Hogwarts, 6-9 p.m.: Includes dinner, magical games, theatrical excitement, classes in astronomy and Defense Against the Dark arts, festival cups and more for ages 8-13; tickets are $35 and must be pre-purchased online. At the Garfield Center for the Arts.
Other Saturday activities include
- Masons Charity Breakfast, 7-10 a.m. Pottercakes, Hagrid’s sausages, scrambled basilisk eggs and more. $8 adults and $4 ages 12 and younger at 124 Speer Road.
- Quidditch, 10 a.m.-noon. Perfect your quaffle-catching and beater bat-swinging at the field across from “Hogwarts Express” train cars 300 block, South Cross Street.
- Kidspot Magical Arts & Crafts, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Make Harry Potter-themed arts and crafts at RiverArts KidsSPOT, 315 High St., Suite 106. Ages 2-12.
- Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Pick up a Marauder’s Map at Garfield Center for the Arts and search the town for clues to complete the puzzle for a prize.
- Ollivander’s Wands & Furnishings, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Learn how Hogwarts furniture is made and get measured for a wand. Ortiz Studio, 207 S. Cross St.
- Potter in the Park, 1-4 p.m. Take dueling lessons, meet magical creatures, make wizardly souvenirs, get Harry Potter face paintings, listen to wizard rock and more. Fountain Park, North Cross and High Streets.
- Wizards on the Water, 2-4 p.m. Sail down the Chester River aboard the schooner Sultana. Also requires a ticket: $30 adults, $15 ages 5-12.
Earlier Potter-themed activities
If you just can’t wait for the festival activities, or want to get in the Harry Potter mood a bit early, head to the Kent County Library Saturday, Sept. 20, for a Harry Potter Read-a-Thon 10 a.m.-noon and listen to volunteers read “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
Why a Potter Festival?
Kid’s Night at Hogwarts is like a few hours of “Harry Potter Camp,” explained Tess Hogans, festival coordinator and administrator. Rachel Perry Panas ran the Harry Potter Summer Camp in Middletown, Del., and spearheaded the project to bring a Harry Potter Festival to Chestertown because of her love of the Harry Potter books, Hogans said.
Panas joined with Lucia Foster, previously the executive director at the Garfield Center for the Arts, and the idea of a Chestertown Harry Potter Festival to benefit the theater took hold and grew with the help of a volunteer committee.
Where to park for the Potter festival
Parking is available in the lot behind Dunkin’ Donuts, across from Fountain Park and by the town dock at the ends of High Street and Cannon Street. All festival-goers can puck up a marauder’s map of the festival at the Garfield Center for the Arts on Saturday, which also highlights places to park.