Event Review: PotterCon 2016
Welcome to PotterCon 2016, a day for adult no-majs (21+ only) with trivia, costume contests, Sortings, and more. Last year’s con garnered close to 1,000 people, and this year proved to be even more successful. What began as a one-day only event turned into a sold out weekend filled to the brim with Potter fans. I attended the event in New York City at the famous Irving Plaza for an afternoon of pure Potter comradery.
PotterCon is not only about the consumption of Firewhisky, as proceeds to compete in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions Fashion Show benefit 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students age 6-18 with their creative writing skills.
Other activities included a live sorting of those selected by the Goblet of Fire, an intense game of trivia for a Harry Potter Prize Pack from USAopoly, and a magical photo booth. This year’s In Memoriam was particularly difficult for some as we grieved Alan Rickman’s passing, while also taking the time to remember all the characters we have lost during the series.
Finally, all the activities in the crowded ballroom gained everyone House points and this year’s House Cup winner was Slytherin! Gryffindor took the title last year, so this was a complete turnaround, but the cheers filled the venue with House pride.
When first entering the venue, I was met with tables of merchandise that for some reason I had not anticipated but quickly ate up my wallet. Custom Potter tanks and other geeky attire from Star Wars to Hamilton were on display at a decent price, but an inconsistent line system left some waiting longer than others.
A makeshift bar appeared at the end of the merch line and I purchased myself a heaping of “Phoenix Tears” while my friend, Shanta, went for the classic Butterbeer. Served in a plastic cup smaller than what one would get in any bar in New York City, the drinks were delicious but the price to cup size ratio led us to switch to no-maj beverages to get the best bang for our buck. Strangely, the prices for the speciality drinks changed depending on where you purchased your beverage. While our drinks originally cost us $8, the bar upstairs was charging $10.
When purchasing tickets, my calendar showed that the event was intended to run from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., however, our schedule reflected something different with activities going until 8:00 p.m. I wonder had the event only gone for the original 3 hours if it would have felt like there was less dead time with not much to do but drink. It was great that for everything you participated in, you were given a raffle ticket to submit for points towards the House Cup, but one could only take so many pictures at the photo booth and you could only submit your name for the Sorting ceremony once.
The trivia was fierce, with questions that could even stump me, such as “Who writes Dumbledore’s obituary?” and “Who are the only two characters to say “B****” in the entire series?”. While I know the answer to the latter – Aunt Marge and Molly Weasley (right?), I’m stumped on the former. Prior to trivia was the costume contest that featured some amazing feats. The winners included Ron Weasley, the Mirror of Erised, and Ron’s dream self, Voldemort, and Professor Snape. While I was hoping for the stunning Dobby or live Snitch, everyone on stage deserved a ribbon in my heart.
Now I need to shed some lumos on the star of my evening, the Dumbledore who aided Miss Alise Morales in the Sorting ceremony. Portrayed by Patwise, the most casual Dumbledore I have ever seen sat on his bar stool and questioned the first-years to gain sense of their personality. He even conned himself into some free beers, offering to automatically sort the buyer into whatever House they wished. Dumbledore ended up with a beer in each hand by the end of his run. Alise and Dumbledore’s commentary had me in stitches laughing and I wish they could’ve stayed on stage for hours.
Overall, a fun event to grab a drink and celebrate Potter. A glowing success as the event had moved to a larger venue this year and managed to sell out both days, with more than a thousand people in the crowd. Things I’d love to see next year? More interactivity, more Dumbledore, and more food options! At the basement near the restrooms, one could purchase a hot dog or pretzel. While I’m unsure if that’s the venue’s policy or not, it may be safer to offer more food when alcohol is involved.
Check out PotterCon online at http://potterconnyc.com/.
— Alise Morales (@fatlise) August 6, 2016
Follow Alise and Patwise on Twitter: @fatlise and @patwiselive.