A while ago, I heard about a two-day Harry Potter festival in Chestertown, MD and automatically made the decision to make the journey there. Upon arriving, my first stop was the Garfield Theatre, which had been turned into Hogwarts for the day, to retrieve the festival map and scavenger hunt information. Ladies dressed in witch garb sat outside, brewing potions and setting up photo opportunities with a Hogwarts castle tapestry and a cutout of Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia after it crashed into the Whomping Willow.
Next, I began to venture up and down the streets of this small town in search of finding the missing items that were needed to complete the scavenger hunt. Along the way, I saw many businesses that had their usual signs replaced with the signage of Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, and Hogsmeade Harry Potter shops. Not only were the storefronts transformed, the shop owners and workers also joined in and dressed in their best witch and wizard garb. One of the banks was converted into Honeydukes sweet shop, complete with Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Candy Floss, and Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum. A bed and breakfast became the Three Broomsticks and a local pub turned into the Leaky Cauldron–complete with a “Goblet of Fire” menu of Harry Potter inspired beverages. There was Flourish & Blotts, Professor Sprout’s Greenhouse, Madam Malkin’s, Weasley Wizard Wheezes, and–for those who dared enter–Borgin & Burkes. One of my favorites was the town drug store, which became Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, where a participant whipped me up a delicious butterbeer.
After marveling at the town’s tremendous efforts to bring the magical world of Harry Potter to life and completing the scavenger hunt, the final stop was to the town’s Fountain Park to check out the Harry Potter merchandise vendors, the musical entertainment–rockin’ bands called the Nargeleptics and Blibbering Humdingers–the dueling club that had formed, and the station where you could make your own broom and take it down to the square to join exciting games of Quidditch that had formed.
The turnout for this event was phenomenal. Families came from as far as Minnesota and Montana to check out the wonders that tiny Chestertown had to offer and to feed their Harry Potter appetites. The best part was seeing the next generation of Potter fans fully decked out in wizardwear and having just as good of a time as their parents. One mom, dressed as Tonks with purple hair, carried her small daughter who was wearing a tea cozy and elf ears to be Dobby. This event was truly fun for all ages, and I hope that it will continue for many years in the future! The Chestertown Festival is an annual event, so check out http://www.chestertownhpfest.org/ for any and all information regarding this year’s and next year’s festivals. Also, check out my photo gallery below!
We’d love to hear from you if you also attended this festival! Please leave your comments below.
Image courtesy of Chestertown Harry Potter Festival Facebook page