TOWN OF THE MOON – Expecto patronum! To perform the spell, you have to think of a happy memory. For many Harry Potter fans, a happy memory could be found at the Wizarding Festival in Moon Park on September 18.
The Harry Potter series is perhaps the most important book series of the past 30 years. The tales of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley have resonated with people of all ages since the very first book. Even outside of the Golden Trio, a world rich in endearing characters has been created, all with their own unique quirks.
The increased involvement of fans has taken the series to even higher heights. At this point, Harry Potter is universal. The series has spread to films in one of the best book-film adaptations in movie history. There’s even a spinoff series being built for a five-movie series. The Universal Harry Potter Theme Park is also an extremely common tourist vacation spot.
Even those who didn’t consume any Harry Potter media were sorted into their Hogwarts home, further boosting the show’s appeal. I’m a new Harry Potter fan myself, having just read the books and watched the movies for the past year or so.
This brings me to the Moon Township Wizarding Festival, which took place last Saturday. When I first arrived, the amount of work put into the festival was obvious. The volunteers were all still preparing for the day ahead. Vendors lined the streets of Dragon Alley, all of which offered unique wares. There were wands, clothes, blankets, paintings, and many other items that would pique any fan’s interest.
Hogwarts students typically learn about the arts of dueling, potion making, and Quidditch in school. At the festival, there was an exhibition at all of these events.
The basketball court had been turned into a Quidditch pitch, where teams played against each other. Of course, since the game needs to be adapted for Muggle (non-wizarding) play, there were several simplifications to the rules of the game. Both teams had four Seekers and a Guardian. There were two volleyballs on the court representing the quaffle. The Seekers had to try to sink the volleyballs into the basketball hoops in order to gain ten points. Meanwhile, the Guardians tried to defend the hoops against the Seekers’ goals. As for the Snitch, the most iconic part of Quidditch, there were two officials standing at the sides of the pitch, throwing a tennis ball back and forth. The Seekers were catching the snitch or waiting for the officials to put it in. From there, the Seekers attempted to pass the tennis ball through the hoop, which scored them fifty points. In a legitimate quidditch game, securing the snitch ends the game, but here the game has been played on a clockwork. It was an interesting sport, for sure.
I mostly spent my time at the craft table as a festival volunteer. There, young wizards and witches could make spinning art, sand art, magnets, frozen drinks and, of course, potions. I was even able to make my own potion which consisted of a golden potion, unicorn tears, a newt’s eye and a basil. Each art station performed well as the pavilion filled up within minutes of opening. The volunteers were all ready to help if needed. The children brought back at least two souvenirs to remember this magical day.
I also spent a lot of time running the dueling station which allowed wizards to train in safe conditions. The duel acted much like “rock, paper, scissors” in that the three were contradicting each other. For example, the disarm spell beats the stun spell, the stun spell beats the protection spell, and the protection spell beats the disarm spell. The two wizards would start at a place in the middle, walk three paces apart, and on the count of three would turn around to use their spell. Several participants came to duel, which gave a lot of fun to the whole family.
Throughout the day there had been several events at the pavilion, including a live performance by artists inspired by Harry Potter.
Stacey Sommerfield, Director of Parks and Recreation at Moon Park. Throughout the day Sommerfield was in charge of the Witchcraft Lodge. The festival started in 2018, managed to turn them into places that have become so iconic in pop culture.
“There are parents who have read Harry Potter and children who have read Harry Potter and entire families who have read it together,” Sommerfield said. “It’s something that can bring the whole family together and get everyone involved in an event, it’s really nice to see. Especially after covid it’s nice to see everyone out there. “
The experience was certainly something magical. Harry Potter fans around the world were sure to have a great time at the Moon Township Wizarding Festival.