By John Curran
The first weekend of October is set to be a magical one with the return of the Chestertown Harry Potter Festival. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, there will be a Harry Potter Read-a-Thon at the Kent County Public Library. The full festival will begin on Friday, Oct. 2 at around 2 p.m. and run until late Saturday evening.
The Harry Potter Festival has proven to be a successful event in the past, with those involved behind the scenes seeking to make this year’s the best yet. Festival President Rachel L. Perry said, “I had the idea for bringing the festival to Chestertown last year and was thrilled with how many people with differing interests liked the idea and were willing to work together to make it happen.”
Not simply an attractive proposition for Chestertown inhabitants, the festival is also a major benefit to local businesses. “This year’s beneficiaries are the Garfield Center for the Arts (also our “Hogwarts”) and the Kent County Fund of Mid-Shore Community Foundation. The themes of Harry Potter are perfect for bringing a community together,” she said.
It should also be noted that the community Perry is talking about definitely includes Washington College students. When asked what the festival has to offer to students Perry was quick to respond. “If you are interested in playing for the festival Quidditch team in a tournament against visiting college and club teams, you can come out to sign up, learn the rules, and practice this Sunday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. in Wilmer Park,” she said. For those interested, Quidditch information can be located on the Chestertown Harry Potter Festival Facebook page.
In addition to Quidditch, students are encouraged to volunteer for the weekend event. For those who are over 21, there will be a house party at the Leaky Cauldron (J.R.’s) on Saturday evening, though tickets for that event are said to be selling out quickly.
The event is looking to cater to as broad an audience as possible. From those with very little knowledge of Harry Potter to those who are diehard fans. Perry has asked for some help selecting appropriately themed music for the event. “We are also having an all-ages Wizard Dance Party at Hogwarts scheduled for Saturday evening ($5 tickets at the door). Tweet us your music suggestions: #CtownWizardDance @CtownH,” she said.
A detailed list of events for the two day festival can be located online at chestertownhpfest.org. The majority of events are free of charge and open to those of all ages. Additional events include a film showing at the Kent County Public Library, a chance to pick up a new wand at Olivanders (Bob Ortiz Studio), a scavenger hunt, a Hogwarts Potion class, a costume contest, and much more.
As a final note, while attending the Festival, dressing the part is highly encouraged, but who should you dress up as? “Ron Weasley tends to be surprisingly under-represented, and there are more Professor MacGonagalls than one might expect,” said Perry.