ITHACA, NY — Ithacans know that our city is a magical place all year round, but we are also lucky enough to have not one, but two yearly wizard events.

With Wizarding Weekend half a year away, witches and warlocks can still gather at Cornell University’s Risley Hall for their annual ‘A Night in Hogwarts’ dinner, on Friday, April 21, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event is family-friendly and welcomes attendees of all ages. Costumes are vehemently encouraged.

No tickets are required, but plan to arrive early — the line typically wraps around the red-bricked castle and down the block.

Photo credit: Joe Wilensky

The line, however, is one of the best parts. Attendees can look forward to interacting with characters from the wizarding world, enjoy themed common rooms in Risley’s front hall, and even expect a visit from the owls at Cornell’s Raptor Program.

Risley Hall is a perfect fit for the dinner, and will look familiar to fans of Harry Potter films: the dining hall is a model of Oxford University’s Christ Church Refectory, in which the Great Hall scenes for the Harry Potter movies were filmed.

Photo credit: Joe Wilensky

The dinner has been a yearly tradition for more than a decade, but will see some menu changes this year, as Risley Dining became a certified gluten-free, nut-free dining facility in early 2017.

The menu includes British-style favorites like carved roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, and shepherd’s pie, and more. There will also be imaginative dishes like Madame Sprout’s Mandrake Scream, Snape’s Favorite Tartlets, and Herbology Salad with Liquid Luck Vinaigrette.

For dessert, guests can look forward to Hagrid’s Chocolate Trifle with Toffee Crunch, Petunia’s Pudding, Order of the Phoenix Rhubarb Crumble. As always, there will be butterbeer, and even Polyjuice Potion to drink. (No guarantees, though, on transfigurarion.)

Prices are $20.40 for adults, $10.20 for children ages 7-12 (tax included). For students on meal plan, admission is one meal swipe. Big Red Bucks and Mealchoice are also accepted.

For more information, visit the ‘A Night at Hogwarts’ Facebook event page.

Disclosure: This reporter has previously been involved with A Night at Hogwarts.

Feature photo by Joe Wilensky.

Jennifer Wholey

Jennifer Wholey is a feature writer and Head of Dining Partnerships for the Ithaca Voice. Contact her at