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ITHACA, N.Y. — There was one thing I heard over and over today as I navigated my way underneath blow-up dragons, between Hogwarts common rooms, and around life-sized wizarding chess boards.

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First 20 photos courtesy of Ed Dittenhoefer. See more at: https://www.facebook.com/EdDittenhoeferPhotography/

“Can we please do this again next year?”

You might think such a plea came only from little kids, infatuated by the Harry Potter children’s fantasy series and importuning grudgingly accepting parents.

You’d be wrong.

The level of infectious energy that whizzed across downtown Ithaca today is hard to do justice to.

It really isn’t conveyed by the size of the crowd — though getting (at least) a few thousand people to turn up with only two weeks of planning was certainly impressive in its own right.

It similarly isn’t fully captured just by listing the dizzyingly large number of Ithaca projects — Muggle Quidditch on electric bicycles; a wand from the Ithaca Generator mechanized to react to the wave of a user’s arm; a craft broom- and wand-making company by a REV: Ithaca entrepreneur — as awing as those were, too.

Rather, to me, there was some more intangible sense of energy that seemed to course through the day.

You could hear that energy — whatever it was — in the intensity of the spells shouted across the wizards’ dueling ground. You could taste it in the “Butterbeer” of Star Truck, and you could see it in the wide-eyed grins on the mad-eyed Moodys and in the carefully traced mascara applied by a Professor McGonagall who made the trip all the way from Quebec in Canada.

Together, that energy paid testament to a community willing to collectively suspended its cynicism and skepticism — willing to suspend its disbelief, and, for many volunteers, its sleep — in order to create something that sounded downright fantastical just a few days ago.

But perhaps I’m wrong, or blinded by my personal enjoyment and love of the creativity on display at the event.

So let me turn this over to you, wizards and witches of Ithaca and Central New York:

Do you think this should mark the start of a new tradition? Do you want to see Wizarding Weekend next year? Should Press Bay Alley transform itself into Diagon Alley once again?

Take our poll below:

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Maybe the ministry officials within the city of Ithaca will take note.


Here are a few dozen more photos of Wizarding Weekend of Ithaca; the first 17 below are from Dittenhoefer and the rest are from Pete Blanchard, Jolene Almendarez or me.


And some from me/Jolene Almendarez/Pete Blanchard:

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.