Reporting intern Benedetta Luciana Sara Carnaghi and event organizers helped with this report.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Horcrux hunting, wizard chess, wandmaking and more have been added to the first annual Wizarding Weekend event happening in Press Bay Alley on Halloween.
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With so many festivities, The Ithaca Voice has found answers to the following questions about the event for a complete user’s guide to Wizarding Weekend in Ithaca:
(If we missed your question, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
How did this event get started?
Primary event organizer, Darlynne Overbaugh, owner of Life’s So Sweet Chocolate, has spent nearly two weeks working with other shop keepers in the alley and sponsors to ensure the event — which has been fueled by a social media firestorm — gets off the ground.
Overbaugh said last week that the event originally thought they would have maybe 200 attendees. According to the event’s Facebook page Friday, however, more than 7,000 people have RSVP’d to attend.
In signs posted throughout Press Bay Alley, at 116-188 W. Green Street, the organizers say:
“There is a magic happening at Press Bay Alley on Halloween…It’s a magic borne of social media gone viral, millennial fanaticism, and a small shopping district’s resourcefulness.”
In response to the interest in the event, Mayor Svante Myrick said overflow from the alley can be absorbed by the newly renovated Ithaca Commons, just over a block away from the festivities. (He also said he has a ‘Ravenclaw 4 lyfe’ tattoo across his back, but that’s none of our business.)
Since he last spoke to The Ithaca Voice, the event has swallowed the surrounding streets with festivities.
What kind of activities should I expect?
House Cup Competition: Each of the four houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw) have their own common room and it is here you receive your own Marauder’s Map (includes site map, schedule, event info and event rules). Each person can help their house gain points by participating in the Horcrux Hunt and various other events. Receive your first stamps are at your house common room and then one at each Horcrux location – when complete return your map to the House Cup Master Tent for tallying.
Horcrux Hunt: The locations of the seven Horcruxes have been confirmed, now it’s up to you to destroy them. Use your Maurauder’s Map and earn points for your house. The person must get a stamp from the seven locations (TBA)
Ministry of Magic Field Office: All volunteers check in at this location. Also contact point for missing people and general questions
Costume Contest: Everyone who is in costume is eligible for the following categories:
Best Good Wizard/Witch
Best Evil Wizard/Witch
Most Creative Costume
One Award for each age group: adults (18 and over), Youth (18 and under)
Three Celebrity Guest Judges will send out Owls to contest finalists – you must be present to win.
Magical Creatures and their Habitats: View and learn about exotic magical creatures throughout the event day
Quidditch Reenactments: Two, one-hour Quidditch matches (with electric broomstick bikes)
Wizard Chess (& Checkers): Test their strategy prowess at our chess station, with over-sized checkers for the kids
Pensive (Remembox Photo Booth): Grab your friends and have your photo taken and placed in the Pensive
Wizards Go to the Circus: Prepare to be amazed by feats of true human strength and creativity as Circus Culture demonstrates their talents throughout the event day
Wizarding Duels: An interactive test of bravery and magical knowledge, our mediator will pick two wizards who will show their mastery of spells, shouting spell after spell to best their opponent. The audience determines the winner, and earn points for their house.
Stick the Sock on Dobby: A wizards take on the classic pin the tail-on-the-donkey, this activity will give wizards the chance to help free Dobby! Hosted by The HP Alliance
Petronus Portaitus: Each wizard has their own spirit animal, or Petronus. In this tent, local artists will sketch wizards’ personal petroni.
Fortune Telling/Tarot Reading: Readings for all who dare! Available at Bramble and Sacred Root.
Trivia of Escalating Difficulty: A set of wizarding trivia awaits you at this location. Successfully answer all the questions correctly and earn points for your house.
Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy: What festival would be complete without Hilby? Don’t know what he does, then you’ve got to come check it out!
Flourish and Blotts: A mobile Tompkins County Public Library unit geared towards kids 8 and up
Dragon Tails: Live story telling for kids 7 and under
Muggle Arts & Crafts: Hands on simple craft activities for kids 7 and under
Face Painting: Face Painting by Cami, a local favorite, will offer her amazing talents
Pumpkin Ornamentation: All who engage in this activity will enjoy pumpkin carving (adult supervision required) and decorating
Intro to Hogwarts: Prefects lead the way for the uninitiated with lessons and activities for kids 12 and under
Castle Bounce House: CNY attractions puts the bounce in bounce house
Jill Hoffman: beautiful paintings on stones
BloodMoon Adornments: wizard and steam punk jewelry
Food Trucks: Silo Truck, Star Truck and Collegetown Crepes
Gringotts: Ithacash will represent Gringots Bank, accepting donations to support the festival, and educate the public about what Ithacash is. (Rumor has it, they will also have 15 pounds of chocolate coins on hand.)
What is the schedule of events such as Quidditch and the costume contest?
11:00am Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the State Theatre $6, $5 in costume or student ID
1:00pm Event Begins!
(Be sure to go to your House Common Room to Pick Up your Marauder’s Map)
1:00pm IHS vs. New Roots Quidditch Match (WICB Live Commentary)
2:15pm Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy
3:00pm Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban $6, $5 in costume or student ID
3:00pm New Roots vs. LACS Quidditch Match (WICB Live Commentary)
4:15pm Witches in Stitches – Improv by Comedy Flops
5pm Deadline for all House Cup Points to be Submitted to the House Cup Master Tent
Owls deliver invitations to finalists of the costume contest
5:30pm Winners of Costume Contest Announced
6:00pm Event Ends! See You Next Year!
Who are the local merchants, performers, entertainment
Diagon Alley (Press Bay Alley)
Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry* – #1 in wands, toys, hats, knits and favors.
Boxy Bikes* – Broomstick out of whack? Try an electric bike
Bramble* – herbs and teas and divination (fortune and tarot)
For the event, they are creating “specific tea blends that are inspired by the four different houses of Hogwarts and are meant to invoke the different qualities of each of the different houses.” Bramble will also relabel their typical remedies as different types of potions. Their friends at Indian Creek Farm will be selling mulled cider and Bramble will also have a fortune teller for the occasion.
Circus Culture School of Circuscraft & Jugglery – demonstrations throughout event
Costume Contest – finalists will be notified by owl by our three Celebrity Guest Judges, you must be present to win.
Digital Pensieve – staged photos by Remembox Photos
Gringots – Open a vault and discover magic money. 50/50 raffle supporting Wizarding Weekend. Sponsored by Ithacash $
Ithaca Generator* – wand making demonstrations and technological magic
Life’s So Sweet Chocolates* – Every flavor beans, frogs, cold butter(scotch) beer, slugs
Darlynne Overbaugh said the shop will offer all of their normal products and some items themed to the event.
“Spider webs, chocolate frogs, witch hats, gummy kabobs, butter beer, the every flavor beans (BeanBoozled is actually the technical phrase for those), pumpkin truffles… you know, it’s all here! The team is already bagging them as we speak,” Overbaugh said.
Owl Emporium – learn about these majestic and important birds
Press Café* – Drinks and baked goods of sophistication (coffee, tea, cider) $
According to Sheena Heise, a bartender at the cafe, they prepared a special menu for Wizard Weekend, which includes “butterbeer cupcakes, chocolate cauldron cupcakes, treacle tarts (or perhaps a cookie take off of that idea) and pumpkin pastiles (hand pies).”
Knockturn Alley (DP Dough Parking Lot)
Castle Bounce House – CNY attractions puts the bounce in bounce house
DP Dough X – Calzones, wings, & Elder Wand raffle (pick up only). Horcrux location
Instant Pensieve – instant photo booth by CNY Attractions
Hogwarts (Journal Parking Lot and State Street)
Gryffindor Common Room – Pick up your Marauder’s map & meet your house mates
House Cup Master Tent – Return completed Marauder’s Map to tally your house points, event t-shirts for sale
Hufflepuff Common Room – Pick up your Marauder’s map & meet your house mates
Magical Creatures and their Habitats – magical creatures on display throughout event presented by Finger Lakes Meat Project and Cayuga Nature Center
Ministry of Magic Field Office – volunteer command center, first aid and general questions
Ravenclaw Common Room – Pick up your Marauder’s map & meet your house mates
SacredRoot Kava* – tea, kambucha, vegan desserts & divination (fortune and tarot)
Slytherin Common Room – Pick up your Marauder’s map & meet your house mates
State Theatre Movies – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (11am), Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban (3pm) Tickets $6, $5 with costume or student ID
The Vintage Industry – Oddities and antiques with wizarding flair
Trivia of Escalating Difficulty – wizarding trivia for house points
Wizard Chess (& Checkers) – open play chess and checkers
Wizarding Duels – wizards duel, audience determines the winner, points won!
Quidditch Pitch (Green State Parking Lot)
Collegetown Crepes – sweet and savory crepes $
Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy – sidesplitting, skillful performance art
Indian Creek Farm – hot apple cider, apples $
Quidditch Reienactments – quidditch with electric broomstick bikes & live commentary
Silo Truck – fried chicken and more $
Star Truck – plant based comfort food $
Witchen in Stiches – improv comedy show by Ithaca Comedy Flops.
Hogsmeade (Cayuga Street and the Commons)
Alecvanders – makers of fine wands and brooms with local woods $
Alphabet Soup X – Muggle toys and horcrux location
Autumn Leaves Books X – Previously loved books and horcrux location
BloodMoon Adornments – wizard and steam punk jewelry $
Body Gear* – dance and costume attire for all ages
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail – learn and taste what the region has to offer
Dragon Tails – Live story telling by Cornell University Alpha Phi Omega
F. Olivers* – Guess the potion of Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar
Face Painting – Cami, a local favorite, will offer her amazing talents $
Flourish and Blotts – lending books courtesy of the Tompkins County Public Library, Quill making demonstrations (while supplies last).
ForeverPine Illustration – mystical creatures on prints, posters & lake stones by Jill Hoffman $
Howlers with Hagrid – learn how to make intense messages
Intro to Wizarding – lessons and activities for kids 12 and under
Jillian’s Drawers – ‘wizard wanted’ photo booth, indoor kids play area for kids 5-0
Mockingbird Paperie X – Authentic Quills, paper supplies, gifts. Horcrux location
Muggle Arts & Crafts – craft activities for all ages hosted by Family and Children’s Services of Ithaca
Multifaceted Minerals X – Amazing mineral specimens and horcrux location
Petronus Portraits – local artists sketch wizards’ personal petroni. $
Petrune X – vintage clothing and horcrux location
Stick the Sock on Dobby – a chance to help free Dobby! By The HP Alliance
Thrive Ethical Clothing* – Butterbeer and Cupcakes 1-3, Sale on magical clothing
Wizard Balloon Art – Broomsticks, Wands & Owls oh my!
*Denotes Trick or Treat locations for kids 12 and under
xDenotes Horcrux location
What about parking, street closures and security?
Ithaca Police Chief John Barber said that in addition to the usual patrols, six extra officers will be at the event, along with two New York State Troopers.
He joked his costume will be an Ithaca Police Department uniform because he’ll be working at the event.
Road closures will be on the 100 blocks of North and South Cayuga Street and the 100 block of West State Street.
Meter parking is free on weekends.
(Map by Jim Houghton of The Graphic Touch used with permission.)
Isn’t there a map of the event or something?
Why, yes! Yes there is!
(This map was made by Storn Cook and has been republished with permission from event organizers.)
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