Magic and Wizardry fills the air every year at the Annual Harry Potter Festival in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, where fans come together to celebrate Pottermania in style.
If you are a Potterhead, this post is just for you. Get ready to be transported to a world of wizards and witches.
The Annual Harry Potter festival has everything you’d imagine in your dreams – a Sorting Hat ceremony, Quidditch match (not the flying one of course) and lookalikes of the Harry Potter cast right from Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, Hermione to the Death Eaters!!
Being a Potterhead, I was wayyy too excited to attend this event and couldn’t wait for the day! This is a two-day festival held every year and if you are a Potterhead, living around the area, you should NOT miss this event!
This year the Festival took place on Oct 21 (evening) and Oct 22 (from 9 am to 5 pm) and oh it was truly magical!! On October 21, there was a Potter themed Pub crawl. While the pub crawl had tickets, the actual festival on the next day was free for all.
We decided to skip the Pub Crawl on the previous day and attended the festival on Oct 22 that was the main day of the Festival.
Read on to find out more about this magical journey –
All Aboard The Hogwarts Express + Opening Ceremony
The official Festival Guide that was released asked to start your journey from Jefferson Station where Harry, Ron & Hermoine will greet you and get on board the ‘Hogwarts Express’ at 10 am. Seeing so many people dressed up as their favorite characters, already made me excited even before we could reach the actual venue!
We didn’t have costumes, but in order to make up for a lack of costume, I drew the infamous scar on the hubby’s forehead and the deathly hallows sign on my hand. This was my attempt at clicking a selfie amidst the crowded train station.
Once the train reached Chestnut Hill station, we were greeted with the words Hogsmeade and it truly felt as if we were transported to a magical land. Mind you, this was an event filled with thousands of people and despite being a rainy, cloudy and chilly day, it didn’t stop people from donning their best cloaks and wizard hats!
The opening ceremony started off with Dumbledore greeting everyone by giving a delightful speech. He was accompanied by Harry & the cast including Snape and a few other teachers too (Guys, sorry for the image quality – Huge Crowd + rain = not a good combo)
Sorting Hat Ceremony and Ollivander’s Wands
No Hogwarts experience is complete without a Sorting Hat Ceremony, right? We even came across Ollivander’s Wands where eager fans queued up to buy a wand!
Golden Snitch, Owls and More
There were places where you could create your own Golden snitch, grab an Owl puppet or even Face paint at the ‘Horcrux Station’. While many of the activities were geared towards the children, the adults had plenty to check out as well.
As I was strolling down the street looking at all the fun displays, I saw this ‘Always Patronus’ necklace and immediately bought it (not so much for wearing but more like a souvenir)
Harry Potter Themed Cakes
A few amazing Harry Potter themed cakes were on display and you could vote for the one that you liked the most. Which one do you like the most?
For the Food Lovers – Butter Beer, Chocolate Frogs and More
Of all the things, I was too excited to get a taste of Butter Beer! It was a non-alcoholic Butterscotch flavored soda and if the weather wouldn’t have been so chilly that day, I would have certainly had more than one Butter Beer 🙂
Here are a few more Goodies that we came across –
Fancy some Chocolate Frogs??
Or maybe some Bellatrix’s Cauldron Cookies or Basilisk Chocolate Scales?
Apart from the sweet treats, there were a couple of Food trucks selling nachos with cheese, Beer battered fried cheese curds, Fish and chips and more.
4 Privet Drive and Selfie parks
There were places which created neat photo ops for Potter Fans like 4 Privet Drive, Hedwig’s Hollow as well as the legendary Platform 9 3/4!
Hayrides, Quidditch Match and Potions Class
Free hayrides and Potions classes that were mostly geared towards children, as well as a Friendly Quidditch match were all part of this wonderful event.
The closing ceremony had a ‘Death Eaters Dance’ but we did not wait for it since we figured the trains will be crowded once the festival ends. However, here is a pic of Lucious Malfoy, Umbridge and the death eaters –
A Quick Guide to getting to this Festival
If you wish to attend this festival and are an out of towner like I am, try and reach early so as to catch the opening ceremony.
The official Chestnut Hill Festival guide that was released asked to board the train from Jefferson Street (SEPTA Rail) and get off at Chestnut Hill. The point was to get a chance to meet Harry, Ron & Hermione on board the train.
However, in doing so, we figured out we wasted a lot of time since the train ride is almost 30-45 min long and was over crowded. We could have easily gone to Chestnut Hill itself and found a paid parking spot over there. Plus the return train journey was kind of annoying since the train kept halting every 5 minutes.
I will definitely go directly to Chestnut Hill and skip riding the ‘Hogwarts Express’ to save time if I attend the festival again next year.
If you’re a Potter Fan, it’s definitely an event you should consider attending if you live close by. For me, personally, it was like my childhood standing right in front of me. Nostalgia for sure!
However, the crowd was insane and there were huge queues at many places like the Sorting Hat Ceremony and Ollivander’s. This was actually expected since there are thousands of Potter fans everywhere (I mean, can you blame them?)
To sum it up, it was truly a Magical Experience!
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