At the end of October, the magic and wonder of Harry Potter will come to life in Ithaca, New York. From October 27 to 30, Wizarding Weekend turns the town's main streets into a real-life Diagon Alley.
"There are activities and events for all age groups-families, students, residents and visitors can spend their Halloween weekend discovering the magic of Ithaca and celebrate their love of the Harry Potter fandom," says Darlynne Overbaugh, creative director of Wizarding Weekend, who was inspired by a conversation with two local teenagers who dreamed of transforming the town's shopping hub into the eerie alley beloved by the pupils of Hogwarts.
The event saw about 8,000 attendees during its inaugural run last year. Expecting even more muggles from all over the U.S. and Canada in 2016, organizers have planned a full four-day-weekend of Potter-inspired programming. More than 50 local businesses will decorate their establishments for the occasion, participating in events like Friday's downtown trick-or-treating and Saturday's family-friendly street festival including electric bike Quidditch and live music from "Wizard Rock" bands. Aspiring witches and wizards can take part in pop-up activities like wand dueling, a Dark Arts Coffee Tour, and a Horcrux scavenger hunt. They've even put in a special request for more Butter Beer from Hogsmeade, which was a best seller last year.
Certain events like Advance Potions (aka cocktail-making class), the TriWizard Ball, and the Sunday's Wizarding Brunch require advance purchase of tickets.
Located on the southern tier of New York's scenic Finger Lakes region and boasting a mixture of 19th century and modern architecture, Ithaca is an ideal locale to channel Harry Potter's world.
The weekend kicks off Thursday afternoon with the Half-Blood Prince Blood Drive at the public library to honor the memory of Alan Rickman, who portrayed Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. The city will be decorated with life-sized structures from the movie and popular Harry Potter characters will be in the crowd, so come ready to snap plenty of photos. If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of the flying Ford Anglia.
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