ITHACA, NY — Activities for small Harry Potter fans were abundant on Friday afternoon in the Tompkins County Public Library between Herbology classes and Dumbledore’s Army Training Class.
“Who remembers when Ron ate all the candy on the Hogwart’s Express?”
Children in the crowd of the Borg Warner Community Room responded as Jenn Feingold brought back the memorable moment from the first Harry Potter novel.
“Well, we’re making the same gummies today!”
Feingold worked with fellow teacher and herbalist Britton Daugherty to combine the magic of Wizarding Weekend and herbs. Both women work for Primitive Pursuits and often teach classes at the forest preschool. The two introduced children to natural ingredients such as lemon balm, tulsi, elderberry, stinging nettles and more.
The two brought children and families up to the front of the room to make a tea from the lemon balm, elderberry and nettles. Adding gelatin, Daugherty and Feingold taught the audience how to make herbal gummies. Next, they made a calendula infused coconut oil and beeswax salve.
Jenny Parker brought her kids to the event as a way to support Daugherty and Feingold. Parker had three of her four children at the herbology class on Friday and planned to visit more events throughout the weekend.
“I love herbs, especially as medicine as a single mother of four,” she said. “Kids love gummies – I don’t like to give my kids junk food, and we make our own things at home, so this was good for us.”
Right after the calming herbology class followed an action packed session where kids age 11-18 lined up outside the Borg Warner room for Dumbledore’s Army training.
Jeremiah Frink had just arrived with his kids, Mercy and Mark. The family made the nearly two-hour drive down from Rochester especially for the weekend.
“We checked into the hotel and came right here,” Fink said. The three did not attend Wizarding Weekend last year, explaining with excitement that this was their first event. “We got to leave school early!” Mercy exclaimed.
The class was led by Joah Bierkamper, the TCPL Game Leader. Bierkamper instructed participating kids in spells, wand movements, and body positioning while casting spells. Bierkamper showed examples and participants would follow suit.
Regina DeMauro, head of teen services at TCPL, explained that this was the first Wizarding Weekend where the library had been open to events.
“This class today is special because it’s one of the only classes which is all pretend,” she explained. “Herbology is taught by and herbalist, astronomy is taught by an astronomy professor – this is just a giant wonderful game of pretend.”
As kids yelled ‘Lumos!’ in unison and waved their wands, the lights almost began to flicker.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that there was an astrology professor at the event.