Aeternitas 2011 Convention in Laconia, New Hampshire
April 28 - May 1, 2011
As I write this I find myself drifting in and out of daydreams and memories from what was surely one of my most memorable weekends ever. This past weekend there were several hundred witches and wizards that descended upon the small New England town of Laconia, New Hampshire and took over the entire Margate resort for the Aeternitas 2011 Harry Potter Convention
The convention was put together by the HP-MA and TGTSNBN groups and headed by Amanda Burke and Jonathon Rosenthal. The effort that they and a host of others put in was obvious right from our arrival time. The entire resort was decorated in Harry Potter themes; including a Diagon Alley for the vendor area, a common room for everyone to relax and do various activities, and a massive event tent that looked eerily similar to the wedding tent from Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie. All of the details, both large and small, were spot on perfect.
As my roommates and I arrived, the first thing that stood out was the hotel staff, as they had their name badges changed to include the word "Muggle" to differentiate themselves from all of us wizarding folks. The one exception to this was Ray The Dark Lord Bartender. Throughout the weekend, Ray (who is a huge Harry Potter fan and felt at home from the start), invented Hogwarts and Wizarding concoctions for us to drink. We had a drink for each house, every potion, Unicorn Blood, the Dark Mark, and many many others. My personal favorite was a drink that started out being called the "Cedric Diggory", but then we would curse the drink by pointing our wands at it and yelling Avada Kedavra
as Ray would add the final ingredient to turn the yellow Hufflepuff drink into a red colored "Dead Hufflepuff". It was an instant hit. Ray was such a huge hit with the witches and wizards that Wizard Wrockers Lily and James even created an original song just for him. Another epic win.
The first nights activities included an amazing Wizarding Fashion Show, hosted by Perseus and Draco LePage. Music was provided by wizard wrock stars Swish and Flick and the show included about 20 various witches and wizards donning their best costumes for display and a walk on a raised catwalk stage. My personal favorite was Joshua Madruga as The Dark Lord himself, and Cassi Johnstone as a very convincing Bellatrix, but everyone involved looked simply amazing. After the Fashion Show ended, everyone broke out into a dance party on the stage. It was all very well done and was a great kick-off to the weekend ahead.
The daytime activities included many different classes and this would be a problem for me: I wanted to see everything, but I have yet to obtain or invent a Time-Turner, so I definitely missed out on some great classes. What I did see was seriously awesome! Cassie J. was one of my favorites as she was dressed in her Bellatrix best (or worst depending on which side you are on), and taught us all how to duel properly. She gave a master class and broke us down by house, urging the Gryffindor's to "try their best", and taught 16 individual moves for dueling combat: 8 offensive moves and 8 defensive positions. When it was all put together, it was like a beautiful dance of power and passion with wands and spells at the ready. I will be practicing this so when I see Bellatrix again, I will be able to defeat her once and for all.
On Friday evening, one of the main events was a show put on by Epic Win Burlesque
of New York City. This was simply incredible as they put together a "one-time only" show made especially for us at the convention: A Harry Potter Burlesque Show. This featured Nelson Lugo, a professional entertainer and magician who along with Schaffer the Dark Lord entertained us with songs, magic, jokes and even a trivia contest (won by yours truly of course). The show was highlighted with burlesque dancers donning very little in a variety of HP themes. One girl was dressed in a Fawkes themed outfit and another act featured Snape and Harry, which no one will ever forget! Overall, the entire show was a brilliant performance!
The evenings were filled with Wrock music from Lily and James, Lauren Fairweather, Matt Maggiacomo of The Whomping Willows, Brian Ross of Draco and the Malfoys, Swish and Flick, Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills, The Remus Lupins, Madam Pince and the Librarians, and Schaffer the Dark Lord. All of which put on a great show that had everyone dancing to the beats.
Aeternitas also featured a couple of brilliant authors, Robyn Schneider and Leanna Renee Hieber, as featured keynote speakers. Each of them have written amazing books that every Harry Potter fan would enjoy: The Knightly Academy
by Robyn Schneider, and the Strangely Beautiful
and Magic Most Foul
series by Leanna Renee Hieber. They are also huge fans of the Harry Potter series and Leanna was authentically dressed as Narcissa Black Malfoy for much of the convention.
On Saturday I held an event for my own MuggleNet Harry Potter Family Feud game, as 4 teams competed in a three game tournament. The teams were the House of Walpurgis, The Order of the Dark Lord, The House of Death Eaters
, and The Hogwarts Professors
. The Hogwarts Professors took the crown in the end, but it was a great time had by all. Special thanks to Xavier Austrone of Magic is Might
for his announcing and entertaining of the crowd, and also to Hanako Ricks for working the magic of the game on the computer.
Saturday night was a Final Wizarding Ball event, and everyone looked amazing in his or her best Wizarding costumes. It became incredibly creepy as The Dark Lord (Tom Forrister) and his Death Eaters marched slowly into the ball. The cameras were snapping all around and pictures are currently being posted on the Aeternitas Flickr page
The weekend came to a very sad end on Sunday with the leaving brunch, but new friends were made and the memories we all shared will live with us for the rest of our lives. At this time Aeternitas 2013 is being planned and I personally can't wait until it arrives.
Special thanks to my wonderful roommates for the terrific memories: Xavier Austrone, Hanako Ricks, Kat Amitrano, Krissy Moy, AuBriana Morency, Rebecca Sideris, and Dina Tsirelson. You guys are the best!Photos courtesy of Hanako Ricks
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