Calling all Potterheads and wizard wannabes! This Halloween is going to be a magical time for a number of Harry Potter fans, especially those willing to travel all the way to Diagon Alley. Luckily, this trip doesn't mandate the skill of apparating or a run through Platform 9 ¾; all it takes is a trip to the muggle state of New York. Whether you're a wizard or a Muggle, Potter fans from all over can head to Ithaca—wands at the ready—to traipse down the famous Diagon Alley in celebration of the community's Wizarding Weekend.
For five magical hours from October 28 - 30, the street of Press Bay Alley in Ithaca, New York, will be transformed into the beloved magical dreamscape of Diagon Alley. Theme parks and amusements all over the world have managed to capture the magic of Harry Potter and give it to the public, but unlike most attractions, this upcoming Halloween event will be totally free to attend.
Harry Potter fans and Halloween enthusiasts are invited to experience a full Wizarding Weekend where the city will be decked out like the wizarding world's famed shopping district, themed houses, select classes, and more. Events include Quidditch Matches (powered by electric broomstick bikes, of course!), Horcrux Scavenger Hunts, Dark Arts Coffee Tours, Advanced Potions Class for Adults (aka cocktail classes), Character Breakfasts, and other magical activities. You can even spark up some romance at their TriWizard Ball or take your chances at the Wizarding Duels. Those lacking motivation to get costumed up might be more inclined to do so for their annual costume contest. Prizes will be awarded to the best "good" wizard and another for the best "bad" wizard, along with the best muggle and the most creative.
According to Jennifer Tavares, President & CEO of the Ithaca/Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, "Wizarding Weekend and other Harry Potter-based events are so wonderful because they play off of the hearts and minds of young and old alike. Harry Potter has a fan base like no other children's/young adult book series in recent memory, and being able to see the Harry Potter world come to life at an event like Wizarding Weekend is like a dream come true for many children, and their parents. Real life events like this are a truly unique experience, to which watching the movies cannot compare."
Over 500 businesses are participating this year, including Life's So Sweet Chocolates, Bramble Herb and Spice Store, Modern Cottage Industry, and Ithaca Generator. This year is estimated to be its biggest yet with a turnout planned for over 12,000 people. All attendees are being urged to join in the magical fun and dress like the wizards and witches most fans (not so) secretly want to be.
For those not wanting to sacrifice their Halloween sweet tooth, no worries—wizards love their candy carts, too. Parents and children alike can delight in the trick-or-treat experience, as all the businesses will be participating in candy giving. Ithaca's circus school, Circus Culture, will also be putting on a show inspired by Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and Boxy Bikes are set to deliver a captivating electric broomstick reenactment that Quidditch fans will not want to miss.
In addition to this exciting transformation, there will also be film screenings (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) at the State Theater on Ithaca commons. Food trucks will provide Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Butter Beer, and more. Don't be a Hufflepuff and miss out on the fun; all activities will begin at 1 p.m. and last until 6 p.m. at 118 W Green Street.
Ready your Nimbus 2000's and book your travel tickets today!