Harry Potter Festival in Chestnut Hill
A magical celebration of wizards and Quidditch
October 17-18, 2014
There will be wizardry and wonder in the air this October as Chestnut Hill transforms for the Harry Potter Festival.
The annual blockbuster festival takes over the charming town on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18, for two days of spellbinding events that magically morph the neighborhood into the much-loved fictional world created by author J.K. Rowling.
Read on for more info on how to enjoy an enchanting weekend of wizards, potions, spells, scavenger hunts, falconry, wizard chess, parades and more.
Festivities take off on Friday, October 17, with a range of events featuring literature, libations and live music. Here are the top happenings during Harry Potter Weekend on Friday evening.
3 to 5 p.m.: Harry Potter Conference
The official Harry Potter Conference kicks off the weekend, with presentations that are free and open to the public from 3 to 5 p.m.
An academic conference exploring themes in J.K. Rowling’s literature, lecture topics range from Glad of Your Absence: Or, Why No One Writes About Ron to Harry Potter and the Meaning of Life.
For more info on the Harry Potter Conference, including a complete schedule of events, click the button below.
6:30 to 9 p.m.: Film Showing: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone
Film fans can relive the movie magic of the original Harry Potter film and catch a screening of Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone at the Teenagers. Inc. Center
The screening starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the community center, which is located just off of Germantown Avenue at 105 Bethlehem Pike.
7 to 9 p.m.: Harry Potter Pub Crawl & Costume Contest
From 7 to 9 p.m., ticket-holders to the now sold-out Harry Potter Pub Crawl & Costume Contest will pop in and out of pubs along Germantown Avenue like McNally’s Tavern, Campbell’s Place and the Tavern on the Hill.
Note: Even though the pub crawl is now sold out — tickets were limited — all participating bars and restaurants will be open for regular business on Friday night during the crawl, which technically ends at 9 p.m. So, even without a pub crawl hand stamp, you can still stop in one of the neighborhood establishments to enjoy a wizardly brew.
Other Friday Activities
- 7 p.m.: Wizard Rock Concert. At Chestnut Hill College, fans can catch a live show, the Wizard Rock Concert featuring Harry and the Potters & Lauren Fairweather at Sorgenti Arena at Chestnut Hill College. Organized by Chestnut Hill College Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, concertgoers can expect Harry Potter-themed lyrics set to rock ’n’ roll beats. Tickets to the concert are $7 and available online or at the door (subject to availability).
- 6 to 8 p.m.: Bales of Cornwall Straw Maze. Bring the little ones to Woodmere Art Museum to explore the 2014 Straw Maze: Bales of Cornwall, an installation sculpture made from massive straw bales and designed by architect and designer Peter Brown and Barbara Ann Sprague of BrownSprague LLC. The sculpture is on view at Woodmere through November 2.
- 6:30 p.m.: Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Water & Rock Studio will host a special class instructing kids on how to defend themselves against the dark arts.
Come Saturday, the Harry Potter Festival really begins to fly. Here’s what’s brewing during Harry Potter Weekend on Saturday.
8 a.m.: The Firebolt 5K Fun Run and 1 MI Walk
Saturday’s festivities kick off with the Firebolt 5K Fun Run and 1 MI Walk. The 5K begins and ends at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields on St. Martins Lane at Willow Grove Avenue, while the one-mile walk will lead participants to Germantown Avenue for the opening ceremonies of the festival, which kick off at 9:45 a.m. Registration for the run will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a start time of 8:00 a.m. Walk registration will begin at 8:15 a.m. with a start time of 8:45 a.m.
Afterward, more family fun is in store at the J.S. Jenks Playground, including wizard chess, bouncy castles and more.
9:15 a.m.: The Hogwarts Express and Opening Ceremony
To take full advantage of the day’s festivities, climb aboard The Hogwarts Express (a.k.a. SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West regional rail line), departing from Jefferson Station at 9:15 a.m. and making all regular stops (including Suburban and 30th Street Stations) to Chestnut Hill West.
Harry Potter look-a-likes will will be onboard the train and arrive at the station at 9:45 a.m. for the official Opening Ceremony of the Harry Potter Festival on West Evergreen Avenue.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Philadelphia Brotherly Love Quidditch Tournament & More
The 5th Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Quidditch Tournament runs all day on the fields of Chestnut Hill College and is free and open to the public.
This year’s tournament pits more than 16 college and university teams against one another in a chance to live out a sport most of us can only read about, and spectators can take in two Quidditch pitches with games played simultaneously from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Harry Potter Festival On Germantown Avenue
From the late morning to the middle of the afternoon, the entire neighborhood of Chestnut Hill on and just off of Germantown Avenue morphs into Hogsmede.
A host of activities run throughout the day, including the Hunt for the Horcrux scavenger hunt, Hedwig’s Hollow Selfie Park at Buckley Park, Bales of Cornwall Straw Maze at Woodmere Art Museum, Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, sorting hat demonstrations, fortune tellers, specialty food and drink, and so much more.
The Food and Drink
To create an immersive atmosphere, Chestnut Hill neighborhood businesses and restaurants on and around Germantown Avenue transform into the familiar locales from Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
For instance, Iron Hill Brewery becomes The Great Hall at Hogwart’s, and look out for the Leaky Cauldron, Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheeezes and more, all with Harry Potter-inspired edibles like Golden Snitches and butterbeer.
For more on the dining scene in Chestnut Hill, check here.
Harry Potter Festival 2014 Video
Getting There & Staying Over
New this year, SEPTA will run The Hogwarts Express from Jefferson Station to Chestnut Hill West Station on Saturday morning. Riders can look out for Harry Potter and several of his friends, who will be on board during the short trip from Center City to Chestnut Hill (a.k.a Hogsmead).
Plus, the festival includes complimentary Knight Bus Trolley transportation all over Chestnut Hill.
True fans should make a weekend out of the festival and stay overnight in Philadelphia. Check out the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for super deals on hotel stays.
Harry Potter Festival Schedule of Events
For more information on the Harry Potter Festival, click the button below.
Harry Potter’s Philadelphia
Be sure to check out Harry Potter’s Guide To Philadelphia, our special Hogwartsian Itinerary in honor of Chestnut Hill’s Harry Potter Festival.
In it, we compiled the bars, restaurants, museums and other attractions the young wizard would visit if he came to Philadelphia. We even matched photos from Harry’s world with places in Philadelphia like the Hall of Prophecy at the Ministry of Magic with the Mutter Museum. Click the button below to check out the full guide.
Halloween in Philadelphia
The Harry Potter Festival is just one of numerous mid- to late-October Halloween festivities in the Philadelphia region. Click the button below for our list of the top Halloween events and activities in the area.
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