The Magic of MISTI-Con 2015
This post is the result of the combined efforts of Creative Team member Amy and Creative Team intern Lizzie.
For five days in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Memorial Day Weekend, Potter fans overran the Margate Resort in full cosplay during the bi-annual MISTI-Con. This conference was organized by the Group That Shall Not Be Named, a New York Potter meet-up organization. The sold out Margate was transformed into the Ministry of Magic headquarters with spectacular decorations, including posters/signs, trinkets, and more. This extraordinary event was stocked with programming from academic panels to sing-a-longs, making this conference a must for Potter fans. The two of us (MuggleNet Creative Team members Amy and Lizzie) got to experience it all first hand.
The Margate Resort is a gorgeous hotel overlooking Lake Laconia that offers stunning sunsets and a staff of individuals who appreciate every person who walks through their doors. The two of us arrived a little under an hour before the Opening Ceremony began. That night had everything you could imagine – Irish magicians, Japanese drumming, and Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) leading everyone to the concluding fireworks display. The late-night festivities continued with some karaoke, which had even Percy Weasley stepping into the spotlight to wield a microphone (and let me tell you, the guy sure knows how to belt “Mustang Sally”).
The nights were late and the mornings began early, but there were no complaints; everyone arose wide awake and ready to pursue another full day of Potter activities. Although we didn’t attend nearly as many panels as we would have liked (seriously, the programming was so top-notch that we would have needed Time-Turners to do it all), what we did sit in on were very academic and thought provoking. The keynote luncheon was especially important because it gave a great overview of several of the panels that we weren’t able to make it to, so we were still able to benefit from the knowledge of the special guests who were in attendance. “Dean of Harry Potter Scholars” John Granger hosted the keynote. Other guests included Professor Patrick McCauley, author of Into the Pensieve (to be released this October); Dr. Janina Scarlet, who applies “Superhero Therapy” using connections to Harry Potter characters in certain adolescent cases; and Professor Anthony Gierzynski, who discussed the impact Harry Potter has on its readers’ personal and political beliefs.
Before and after the keynote luncheon, the MuggleNet staff was busy helping host some of the programming. Our own Kat Miller (Creative & Marketing Director) moderated the Wizarding World of Harry Potter panel, which was full of excellent background information about the theme park from its creators Eric Hunt, Eric Baker, and George Gakoumis, Jr. The afternoon brought Potter-themed Family Feud presented by MuggleNet. We did our part by working the scoreboard as the teams battled it out, cheered on by a large audience that had gathered to get in on the fun. The artists came out as well at MISTI – the Wizarding World’s Fair displayed a large array of talent in T-shirt sales, specialized decals, handmade wands, and more (our personal fave was the “No Sh*t Sherlock” bathroom potpourri spray).
While the programming was excellent, the things that we will remember best came from the fantastic group of people we spent the weekend with. Group dinners with the designers of a theme park and an actor who now works in the production of television shows (Downton Abbey being Rankin’s latest gig) were a highlight for us since we are both embarking on careers in media, television, and film. Eventually, the group broke up as we lost a few here and there to the Muggle world. While the goodbyes were bittersweet, we immediately made plans to meet up again down in Florida (and no one better back out because there will be T-shirts). The last night came, and it was just the two of us left, but we lived it up one last time at the Masquerade Ball where we jammed out to “Can You Dance Like a Hippogriff” and witnessed Voldemort head bopping to “Dark Lord Funk.”
That final morning came far too soon. Friends hugged teary-eyed as they said goodbye, and slowly the resort emptied out and returned to its Muggle state. It will not be until 2017 that the hotel is enchanted again, but for those who cannot wait, a Facebook group has already sprung with future attendees sharing their Potter and MISTI love with anticipation.
If you are looking for a fun time to indulge in your Potter appreciation, look no further than this wonderful con!
Featured Image credit to MuggleNet Social Media Staff Member Elayna Mae.