Harry Potter magic awakens at Moon Park


Photo Credit: (RMU Sentry Media/ Aaron Frier)

MOON TOWNSHIP – Expecto Patronum! In order to perform the spell, one must think of a happy memory. For many Harry Potter fans, a happy memory could be found at the Wizarding Festival in Moon Park on Sept. 18.

The Harry Potter series is perhaps the most prominent book series in the last 30 years. The tales of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley have resonated with people of all ages since the very first book. Even outside of the golden trio, a rich world of endearing characters have been created, all with their own quirks.

The further involvement of fans has led the series to soar to even more heights. At this point, Harry Potter is universal. The series has expanded to movies in one of the best book-to-movie adaptations in cinematic history. There is even a spin-off series being built up for a run of five movies. The Universal Harry Potter amusement park is also an extremely common tourist vacation.

Even those that have not consumed any Harry Potter media have been sorted into their Hogwarts house, furthering the draw to the series. I myself am a new Harry Potter fan, having just read the books and watched the movies within the last year.

That brings me to the Moon Township Wizarding Festival, which occurred last Saturday. When I first arrived, the amount of work being put into the festival was apparent. The volunteers were all still setting up for the day to come. Vendors lined the streets of Dragon Alley, all of which offered unique merchandise. There were wands, clothing, blankets, paintings and many other items that would pique any fan’s interest.

Students at Hogwarts commonly come across the arts of dueling, crafting potions and quidditch while at school. At the festival, there was exposure to all of these events.

The basketball court had been transformed into the quidditch pitch, where teams would play against each other. Naturally, since the game has to be adapted for muggle (non-wizard) play there were several rule simplifications to the game. Both teams had four Seekers and one Keeper. There were two volleyballs on the pitch representing the quaffle. The Seekers had to try to sink the volleyballs into the basketball hoops in order to gain ten points. Meanwhile, the Keepers tried to defend the hoops from being scored on by the Seekers. As for the golden snitch, the most iconic part of quidditch, there were two officials standing on the sides of the court, tossing a tennis ball back and forth. The Seekers would either grab the snitch out of the air or wait until the officials threw it into play. From there, the Seekers attempted to get the tennis ball through the hoop, which scored them fifty points. In a legitimate quidditch game, securing the snitch ends the game, but here the game was played on a time clock. It was an interesting sport to be sure.

I primarily spent my time at the crafts table as a volunteer for the festival. There, young wizards and witches could make spin art, sand art, magnets, rinky dinks and, of course, potions. I even got to make my own potion which consisted of a golden potion, unicorn tears, a newt’s eye and a basilisk. Each art station ran well as the pavilion filled up mere minutes after opening. The volunteers were all willing to help if necessary. The children brought back at least two souvenirs to remind themselves of the magical day.

I also spent a lot of time running the dueling station which enabled wizards to train under safe conditions. The dueling acted a lot like “rock, paper, scissors” in that the three each counteracted one another. For instance, the disarming spell beats the stun spell, the stun spell beats the protection spell and the protection spell beats the disarming spell. Both wizards would start at a spot in the middle, walk three paces apart and on the count of three would turn around to use their spell. Several participants came to duel, resulting in a lot of fun for the whole family.

Throughout the day, there had been several events at the pavilion including a live show by Harry Potter inspired artists.

Stacey Summerfield, the Parks and Recreation Director at Moon Park. Throughout the day, Summerfield was in charge of the Witchcraft’s pavilion. The festival started in 2018, has been successful with turning it into the locales that have become so iconic within pop culture.

“There are parents who’ve read Harry Potter and kids who’ve read Harry Potter and whole families that have read it together,” Summerfield said. “It’s something that can bring the whole family together and get everyone out at an event, it’s just really nice to see. Especially after covid, it’s nice to see everyone out and about.”

The experience was certainly something magical. Harry Potter fans all around were sure to find a great time at the Moon Township Wizarding Festival.