ITHACA, N.Y. — Amid the magical happenings at Ithaca’s first Wizarding Weekend, a crowd of people clamored around a tent, nearly pushing their way in to see Alecvander’s wands and broomsticks.

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Founder Alec Mitchell, said the magical company is inspired from Harry Potter’s Ollivanders and sprung up very much like the Ithaca’s first Wizarding Weekend — on the fly and in a matter of days.

Dressed in wizarding wear and without breaking character, Mitchell pointed to a list of wand cores — phoenix feather, dragon heartstrings, unicorn hair, troll whisker, kelpie hair, thestral tail hair — and told a waiting crowd that each wand core matched a different colored box.

“Every single wand is labeled by its different wood type,” he added. “We harvested everything ourselves… all the brooms are made of maple. They’re Ithaca 2000s.”

#ithacaiswizards #ithaca2000s #twithaca

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Related: 7 magical surprises from Ithaca’s Wizarding Weekend

Mitchell, who is also coordinator of Rev Ithaca Startup Works, said he harvested eight different kinds of wood from dead or dying trees in the local area.

“We’re not just going to to kill fresh, happy trees,” he said about the operation.

Over the course of three days  last week, he said he spent from about 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. whittling unique wands and broomsticks.

Alec Mitchell’s hands after days of wandmaking.

He and a small group of friends made 120-130 wands and 20 brooms (Ithaca 2000s, a play on Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000 broomstick)  in time for the event.

“I don’t think people really knew what was going to happen,” he said about the Wizarding Weekend, which drew in thousands of people to Press Bay Alley and the surrounding downtown Ithaca area on Halloween.

Related: Ithaca’s new Diagon Alley merchants: ‘It was non-stop all day’

He said he wasn’t entirely sure what the demand for items would be, what people would be interested in or how many people would attend the Wizarding Weekend.

But within about 40 minutes on Saturday, he’d sold about 40 wands.

“In less than two hours we were sold out of pretty much everything,” Mitchell said — every wand and nearly every broomstick had been purchased.

He and a few other friends couldn’t keep up with the demand for the products on the spot.

Mitchell said each wand is hand whittled and takes 1 to 2 hours to make, depending on the intricacy of the design. After being sanded, it’s coated with polyurethane, oiled and heated in an oven or with a heat gun, giving each wand a unique color and appearance.


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Brooms go through a similar creation process and take 1.5 to 3 hours to make.

“It’s just variable, the wood itself,” he said.

Mitchell said the company came to fruition because of his background as a hobby whittler and experience in some construction. But it was also driven from his love of Harry Potter, which he said he spent a lot of time reading when he was young, though, he said it’s been years since he’s read the books.

At the very least, Mitchell said he want to sell wands and brooms again at Wizarding Weekend next year.

For now, though, he said he will be putting an open order form on his website — which launched Monday night — and possibly selling at Comic Con or other fan based gatherings.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.