See below for weekend schedule
by Paula M. Riley
Harry Potter fans, Muggles and everyone looking for a fun and exciting weekend will find wizardry and wonder October 14, 15, & 16 as Chestnut Hill transforms itself into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley for Harry Potter Weekend and Chestnut Hill College hosting of the 2nd Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Quidditch Cup Tournament.
All throughout the Chestnut Hill, a weekend of spellbinding events and fun festivities will keep children and adults, wizards and Muggles (non-wizards) entertained. The College, businesses, restaurants and schools have all come together to design a spectacular, one-of-a-kind experience. College president Carol Jean Vale says, “The College is delighted to collaborate with our CHBA neighbors on the Harry Potter Weekend and the Brotherly Love Cup. There is a tremendous enthusiasm for Quidditch on campus, and we are thrilled to combine resources to bring a weekend of magic to our community.”
Opening festivities are Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the Top of the Hill Plaza with a parade of Quidditch teams and the ceremonial releasing of Hedwig the Owl by Hogwarts beloved headmaster, Dumbledore. Later that evening, adults are invited to join the Harry Potter Pub Crawl and spooky Ghost Tour.
Shops and restaurants of Chestnut Hill will magically change into places right off the pages of the Harry Potter books. Robertson’s Flowers blossoms into the Greenhouse at Hogwarts where Professor Sprout offers insight on herbology. McNally’s Tavern switches into the Leaky Cauldron serving Muggle muffins and the Night Kitchen Bakery charmingly becomes Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop.
Weasley’s Wizarding Wheeezes replaces O’Doodles Toy Store where children can enjoy the full Weazley treatment along with face painting and a chance to photograph themselves as Harry Potter. Owner Fran O’Donnell had great fun preparing his store for this wizardry transformation, “Local businesses have been so creative!” says O’Donnell, “Chestnut Hill will look like it has always been part of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World.”
Sports fans won’t want to miss the chance to watch a real Quidditch tournament at the 2nd Annual Brotherly Love Cup at Chestnut Hill College on Saturday, October 15 from 12-6 p.m. Free and open to the public, the tournament includes 18 Quidditch collegiate and club teams from the Philadelphia area and beyond. It features two Quidditch pitches with games played simultaneously for spectators to view. The best three teams will compete for the Cup in the final bracket of the tournament.
Those interested in playing Quidditch can attend the Quidditch Training Camp on Saturday. Balance Chestnut Hill offers wizardly workout tips to improve any player’s game and Matt Paul Basketball will help players perfect their shot. These new skills can be put to the test on Sunday at Quidditch 101. Coached by Chestnut Hill College Quidditch players, this training program will be held at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy. Players can bring their own broomstick or use one provided by the college players.
Children and adults alike will love a chance to meet the characters of Harry Potter stories. Look for the Harry Potter Ensemble, presented by the Chestnut Hill College Mask & Foil theatre troupe, and featuring Ron, Harry and Hermione and other characters at activities all weekend.
Even Morris Arboretum gets caught in the spell, with their popular Scarecrow Contest featuring a scarecrow category devoted to Harry and his fellow Hogwarts classmates. All entries will be on display on the Scarecrow Walk at Morris Arboretum through Sunday, October 16.
Additional weekend events include the flying of Hedwig the Owl, a live Wizards Chess Match with local high school students performing as the chess pieces, a scavenger hunt, a Harry Potter costume parade, and Defense against the Dark Arts classes. Valley Green-gotts Bank challenges visitors to face the goblin to win Galleons that, when opening a new account, can be converted to the cash and added to that account. There will be shopping and dinner specials to round out weekend’s activities. Chestnut Hill College shuttle buses will be running all day Saturday and Sunday and are free and open to the public. They will stop at various events in the village of Chestnut Hill, at the College and at regular shuttle stops.
Never before has Chestnut Hill hosted such an event, “This is a great example of what can happen when the Business Association, residents and the College work together,” says Anne McNally owner of McNally’s tavern. “People of all ages love Harry Potter and nowhere else has any community hosted such a comprehensive celebration and Quidditch Tournament…I think this is great for our entire community.”
Residents, guests, wizards and Muggles will enjoy an enchanting weekend of wizards, potions, spells, scavenger hunts, costumes, falconry, wizard chess, parades, quidditch and more. There will be wands and capes, butterbeer and Bertie Botts and great fun for all—muggles and wizards alike.
Mary Kate McGrath leads the Steering Committee and has great hopes for an exciting weekend, “Chestnut Hill, with the College and the business corridor is the perfect setting for a Harry Potter weekend event. We are thrilled with the amazing response we have received from everyone participating and know this will be a celebration like no other!”