When Fancy Meets Fantasy: The Fantastical Society and the Magic It Creates
When the magic of Harry Potter and the elegance of an extravagant dinner party collide, you’re bound to get something unique. Wizarding events are anything but scarce, and the Fantastical Society provides nothing short of a true high-class wizarding dining experience.
So what exactly is the Fantastical Society? Founder and president Steve Bialecki let us in on the inner workings of the group.
Headquartered at historic Madison Manor, high in the hills above Pasadena, California, the Fantastical Society is an association of fans dedicated to sharing our passion for fantasy, friendship, fun, and festivities by creating and hosting the highest quality most incredible events in the Southern California area. Although most of our events transport us to the Wizarding World, we also travel to other worlds and beyond in our quest for fantasy! We are a non-profit fan only group and are not associated with any franchise.
Bialecki helps organize the society through all stages of an event, from planning to hosting. But these aren’t your average dinner parties. Bialecki says there’s a lot more that goes into cultivating “highly themed dinner events.”
Our signature events are highly themed formal dinner events. Each signature event requires months of preparation to ensure that it’s on theme, unique, and totally over the top in quality and experience. Think of them as glamorously themed weddings with atmosphere, music, appetizers, drinks, photograph locations, general mischief in our gardens, formal seated dinner, and instead of a ceremony we play the Fantastical Fun Show – an exciting gameshow event that has elements from The Price is Right, the Gong Show, White Elephant, and Let’s Make a Deal!
Not only is Bialecki creating the events, but he often hosts them. The Madison Manor near Pasadena, California, is also his “family’s home.”
I love hosting here because it fits the theming very well, we have adequate space in order to host the events and I’m able to maintain complete control over the event. We’ve also hosted events at public parks, Universal Studios, and Disneyland.
The Fantastical Society began in 2017 with a “Ravenclaw Ball” and holiday parties. Bialecki says that once word got around of his shindigs, the Fantastical Society was born.
Our very first event was the Ravenclaw Ball in 2017. I had met a bunch of people in a Harry Potter running group and decided to throw a party for everyone that was in my area. Who doesn’t love a party right? I wanted to celebrate our love of the Wizarding World and of course…being Ravenclaws! From there word spread and we took off. We also began hosting non-wizarding world events like our incredible Halloween and holiday parties. This past year we organized several ‘Quest’ events at Universal Studios and Disneyland which are immersive scavengers hunts with multiple sophisticated elements. In addition, we hosted ‘Art Days’ where participants can create their own amazing pieces of wooden art inspired by various fantasy worlds!
If you want to get into these magical events, you’re in luck! There are two types of membership for the Society. One allows for the general public to attend when events are hosted in public settings. Bialecki says the Society’s “Quest events” at places like Disneyland and Universal Studios are “open to anyone and everyone [who] wishes to attend.” The second membership is the Platinum level.
Platinum level events, like our signature events, are held here at Madison Manor and therefore are only open to Platinum level members. Anyone can become a Platinum level member by either joining us at public events so we can meet you and get to know you or be a guest of an existing Platinum member. We do this in order to maintain the safety of the Madison Manor residents and guests.
The Madison Manor parties host between 20 and 50 guests. Events in the Manor’s gardens are able to host 50 guests at a time thanks to the size. Bialecki says the Great Hall of Madison Manor caps out at 20 guests, but that’s only to “maintain the highest guest experience.” Since the capacity is very limited, the waitlist to get into an event has accumulated.
We always have quite a healthy waitlist. That’s why we try to cycle through guests so that it’s fair for everyone and everyone gets a chance to experience an event. There are a few regulars who we know will always be there in addition to the Magic Makers. But, yeah, we really try to shake it up.
The famed “signature events” have occurred four times a year since the start of the Fantastical Society. But with such a waitlist, Bialecki wants to expand to include everyone who wants to be involved. There has been, however, a slight snag in his plans.
Signature events that are held here at Madison Manor happen about four times a year. But this year, we were looking at doing more with six. Because our events have become so popular we really wanted to make sure we gave more people the opportunity to join us. But now with the whole [COVID-19 pandemic], we’re just kind of on hold.
To find out more about the Fantastical Society and everything it does, check out the Facebook page for event dates, times, and prices.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to the Fantastical Society and Steve Bialecki for providing an interview and photographs.