Pennsylvania Shows Its Continued Love for “Potter” with Magical Festivals and More
People of all ages filled the small town – population 168, according to the 2010 census – some sporting colors from their favorite Hogwarts house: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Most shops sold a variety of Harry Potter items: Magic wands, home decor, refreshments, handmade wares, and Harry’s signature spectacles were among the most popular.
Dana Barr, the lead organizer of the festival, noted that last year’s events were affected – like many others – by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, as described by the Sharon Herald, one key issue has placed the future of the festival in jeopardy, and it’s not because of a pandemic or copyright claims. The problem, in fact, is the availability of public restrooms.
Volant business owners have wrestled with borough leaders over the public restroom building in town, which has been closed since 2014, even though the borough is still collecting fees from merchants for the public restroom. A group of merchants are suing the borough for not maintaining the restroom, a service that was supposed to have been funded by the fees.
In spite of this challenge, this year’s festival continued, and some businesses even changed their names for the day to match the theming, adopting names from Diagon Alley for the occasion.
Volant’s Harry Potter festival isn’t the only established fan event in Pennsylvania, however. Chestnut Hill, in Philadelphia, has run a festival of its own for multiple years. Although the festival was set to shut down in 2018, it is expected to be run as the Witches and Wizards festival again this October. At nearby Chestnut Hill College, meanwhile, the tenth edition of the Harry Potter Academic Conference (HPAC) will adopt a hybrid format, with both online and in-person attendance options.
In addition to these fan events, a little bit of Wizarding World movie magic will be coming to Pennsylvania in 2022. As announced earlier this month, the new Harry Potter: The Exhibition will make its first stop at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Is Pennsylvania the place to be for fans of the Wizarding World? What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!