Arts & Entertainment

Harry Potter in Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill will turn into Hogsmeade this upcoming weekend.

It has been six years since the last Harry Potter book, “ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” was released.  For those who grew up with the wizard, Potter nostalgia is still alive.

“The stories we love best do live in us forever,” series author JK Rowling said at the “Harry Poter and Deathly Hallows:  Part 2” London movie premiere in 2011. “So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

Chestnut Hill, a neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia, will create a Hogsmeade of its own. On Oct. 18 and 19, the Harry Potter Festival will transform 10 blocks along Germantown Avenue into the magical village. This will be the third annual festival, which will include a themed pub crawl, appearances by Dumbledore, Voldemort and Harry Potter,as well as a Quidditch tournament.

“People are coming from all over, even driving in from Boston for this event,” Peggy Miller, a member of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, said. “[Chestnut Hill Business Association] started [the festival] when Chestnut Hill College’s Quidditch tournament became so popular. We thought, ‘We’ll become Hogsmeade.’”

Chestnut Hill College is up the street from the main shopping area of Chestnut Hill, situated much like Hogwarts is to Hogsmeade.

“We thought it would just be a fun little thing, but the first year we were overwhelmed with people dressing up in costumes, and we realized this is something people really like,” Miller said.

The reach of Harry Potter fans has led to an Orlando, Fla. theme park, a Warner Bros. London studio tour of movie props and sets, a study of the books in some college curriculums and the “Harry Potter Weekend” on ABC Family.

“I went to the midnight releases of the movies, I’ve reread all the books maybe four times,” Lauren Frabizzio, a Temple senior, said about the appeal of Harry Potter. “When the movies come on TV, me and my roommates always watch them. It’s something we grew up with and will always love.”

The festival will start at 5:30 p.m. with a pep rally for the Quidditch tournament that will take place the next day. A “Thestral,” which is a winged horse that makes an appearance in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” will be onsite, along with members from the Mask and Foil Drama Club of Chestnut Hill College dressed as the characters.

Costumes featuring lightning bolt scars, wands, robes, gray beads, pointy witch hats, round glasses or Hogwarts house colors are all encouraged.

At 7 p.m., there will be a Harry Potter Pub Crawl with seven local pub participants. In order to transform the area into Hogsmeade, each of the participating businesses will have name changes that reflect the Harry Potter theme.

The bars in the pub crawl will be changed to: Hog’s Head Tavern, the Leaky Cauldron, the Great Hall, the Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade Grill, the Burrow and the Port Key.

“Iron Hill Brewery, which will be called the Great Hall, is releasing a new beer on Friday called ‘Dumbledore’s Double,’” Miller said. “Most of the bars will be doing specials like that with the theme, coming up with their own potions and brews.”

Butterbeer, which is nonalcoholic, will be available throughout the weekend at various locations along the 10 blocks.

Other participating businesses in Chestnut Hill will take on a Potter persona as well and switch to names like Madame Puddifoot’s and Honey Dukes Sweetshop.

Free transportation will be provided on the newly named Night Bus along Germantown Avenue. A free shuttle service from the main shopping area will also be provided to Chestnut Hill College on Oct. 19 when the Quidditch tournament will take place.

The competition, which is the fourth annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament, will begin at 10 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m. Eight teams will be participating. Temple does not have a team, but other schools such as Kutztown and Penn State will be competing.

There will also be a free Harry Potter conference on Oct. 18 at Chestnut Hill College from 3-5 p.m. for a scholarly discussion on JK Rowling’s series.

“I’m glad people are still discussing and enjoying Harry Potter,” Frabizzio said. “I was so sad when it all ended because I wasn’t ready to let go of the books or movies. People still crave the magic JK Rowling created.”

Sinead Cummings can be reached at

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