Would be wizards practice their spell casting skills on Germantown Ave. (Photo by Darryl Moran)

The Harry Potter Festival will once again take over Chestnut Hill as the destination, located just outside of Center City in the Northwest section of Philadelphia, mystically morphs into Hogsmeade for the annual community fan festival. From Friday, October 20 to Saturday October 21, thousands of fans will flock to the destination for this free and family-friendly event.

As the festival continues to grow in popularity, drawing visitors from as far as Georgia, Florida, Maine and even Ontario – the Chestnut Hill Business District and its partners explore new ways to elevate the festival experience. New this year, Germantown Avenue (spanning six-blocks from Northwestern Ave to Cresheim Valley Drive) will close to vehicular traffic, creating a more festive, immersive and safe event – mischief managed!

During the two-day celebration, visitors will have the chance to interact with characters from the beloved series, tap into the tastes of the Potter world with themed food and drinks, shop the most bewitching boutiques, cheer along with a game of Quidditch, participate in activities fit for muggles and wizards alike, dodge Dementors, and much more.

The weekend festivities commence on Friday, October 20 with The Sixth Annual Harry Potter Conference at Chestnut Hill College. From 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., scholarly fans can explore the characters and content of the Harry Potter world (both print and film) created by J.K. Rowling through an academic lens. The conference is open to the public with a $15 registration fee. See more details on page 9-10.

That evening, Germantown Ave. will host “Wands And Wizards Night On The Avenue,” from 6 to 9 p.m.  Enjoy a special evening of magical fun with live performances, shopping, and spirited food & drink specials at participating bars and restaurants throughout Chestnut Hill. Activities include photo booths, performances by aerialists, fortune tellers along Germantown Avenue, and much more. New for 2017: The Franklin Institute brings Astronomy to Wands & Wizards Night. Join the science museum at Jenks Memorial Playground, 8301 Germantown Ave., for a family-friendly “out of this world” evening.

The Harry Potter Family Movie Night and Pizza Party will take place on Friday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave. The church will host a showing of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and a family friendly pizza party plus popcorn, beverages, and dessert. Cost is $10 per person. Proceeds from the event will fund the church’s mission outreach in the community. Tickets can be found at https://pcch.ticketleap.com/admin/events/harry-potter-family-movie-night-and-pizza-party

The Harry Potter Costume Contest will be held at 8 p.m. at John Story Jenks Academy of the Arts & Sciences, 8301 Germantown Ave. Step into the spotlight dressed as your favorite Harry Potter character during the annual costume contest. Participants will dress in their best wizardly wardrobes and will be asked to recite a line attributed to their character in order to compete for cash prizes and all-important bragging rights. Registration now open – $5 to participate, free to spectate. Participants must be 18 years of age or older. Seating for the costume contest will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. https://chestnut-hill.ticketleap.com/chestnut-hill-harry-potter-festival-costume-contest/

Before the festival begins on Saturday, Oct. 21, Potter fans and neighborhood residents have options that begin first thing in the morning.

The Friends of Jenks will host its annual Firebolt 5K and One Mile Nimbus Walk at 8:30 a.m.

The Firebolt 5K run is a professionally managed run with chip timing for all participants, but is open to casual runners. The race begins and ends at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields on St. Martins Lane at Willow Grove Avenue. Cost to participate is $35 per person. The Nimbus Walk leads participants on a one mile walk to Germantown Avenue for the Harry Potter Festival. The walk also starts at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The cost to participate in the walk $20 per person. Costumes encouraged.

For fans coming from Center City, a 30-minute meet and great with Harry Potter and other characters from the book will take place at 8:30 a.m. at SEPTA’s Jefferson Station. Afterwards, board one of the trains (service runs all day) and get whisked away to the 2017 festival.

The main event kicks off on Germantown Avenue on Saturday, October 21 at 10 a.m. The 7th Annual Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival returns to Germantown Avenue with more room to roam, more treats to eat, and more fun for all. With an expanded festival footprint spanning 12 blocks and new designated family-friendly activity areas (conveniently located just off of Germantown Avenue) this year’s festival promises the same wizardry wonder of years past, with the mischief managed.

2017 entertainment and activities include:

  • MAGICAL MAKE AND TAKE ZONES will also make their debut this year, offering 10 (+) interactive activities designed for kids ages 4-12, but able to be enjoyed by all. Magical Wristbands (advance purchase required, $20 per person) granting access to these zones available now here: www.chestnut-hill.ticketleap.com/harry-potter-festival-magical-make–take-wristbands.
  • TWO NEW BEER GARDENS: A pop-up Beer Garden will magically appear at Woodmere Art Museum, hosted by McNally’s Tavern. The new Chestnut Hill Beer Garden (Located at Market at The Fareway) will also serve sudsy potions.
  • Dumbledore’s Greeting will take place on the Upper Festival Stage at 11 a.m. followed by a photo opp. Professor Umbridge will give a greeting at the same time at the Lower Festival Stage.
  • Join Harry and co. for the Defense against the Dark Arts Demonstrations, taking place at 2 p.m. at Jenks Academy Auditorium.
  • At the Lower Festival Stage catch Falconry and animals from the Lehigh Valley Zoo between 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Strap on your dancing shoes and join the Wizards Dance Party all day at The Fresh Market.
  • Sorting Hat Demonstrations will take place all day, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. House assignments will be given by Dumbledore, Professor Trelawney, Professor McGonagall, Minister Shacklebolt, and more.
  • St. Paul’s Great Hall: An immersive experience in “St Paul’s Great Hall” with themed decor (including floating candles) and your favorite Hogwarts teachers. A scrumptious luncheon of Shepard’s Pie, Salad, Pasties and Butter Beer (kid friendly) will be served. Vegetarian option available.
  • Photo opps with a rotating cast of characters will be available throughout the day at both festival stages. For an Insta-worthy photo with all of the characters, head to the Upper Festival Stage at 1:15 pm.
  • Woodmere Art Museum will play host to the Woodmere Straw Maze and The Give and Take Jugglers who will present The Little Circus with special Harry Potter programs and aerial performances throughout the day.
  • The Crefeld School will host free Patronus activities as well as glass blowing activities (small fee per person for glass blowing) during this year’s festival.
  • cityHUNT returns this year for a digital festival scavenger hunt beginning at 2:30. Take your Harry Potter experience to the next level of awesome and compete with your team using the cityHUNT mobile app. Solve clues and challenges to earn points and win prizes. Registration for the scavenger hunt is $100 per team (up to five people) and can be purchased here: https://chestnut-hill.ticketleap.com/admin/events/modify/harry-potter-festival-2017–cityhunt-scavenger-hunt.
  • Additional festival activities include the Harry Potter Pancake Feast 2017 at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, a S.P.E.W. Rally, Potter Quizzo, a Deatheaters Dance Party, Quidditch Tournament Updates, Harry Potter Cake Show, Science of Wizarding demonstrations, ice sculpting demonstrations, Muggles Read-a-Thon, Chamber of Mysteries at 7942 Germantown Avenue, iconic photo opps, and more. Visit chestnuthillpa.com for full details.

 

Travel Guide

Chestnut Hill is easily accessible by car from Center City Philadelphia and the surrounding region, but the historic neighborhood has limited capacity for parking.  Public transportation, carpooling, and ride share companies are recommended when possible.

Train

SEPTA (Philadelphia’s regional transit system) has two station stops in Chestnut Hill a short walk from the heart of the Festival: Chestnut Hill West and Chestnut Hill East.  Below is a guide to trains from Center City Philadelphia and Chestnut Hill, as well as return trips.  Visit http://www.iseptaphilly.com/PotterFest for complete schedules and details.

One-way fare between Center City Philadelphia and either Chestnut Hill station is $5.25 (weekday) and $4.25 (weekend) when purchased in advance.  Tickets purchased on board the train are $6 (weekday) and $5 (weekend).  Fare information: http://www.septa.org/fares/

You can also find SEPTA bus service via the Google Transit at www.septa.org.

 

Parking

 

Because of the large numbers of visitors in recent years, parking arrangements have changed

A number of satellite parking locations have been secured for visitors who choose to drive to the festival on Saturday; however, parking is limited. Use of public transportation and ride sharing is strongly encouraged.

A shuttle service will be available to transport visitors from each satellite location to the festival area. Visitors traveling to Chestnut Hill for the festival are strongly encouraged to utilize the provided satellite lots or public transportation.

Satellite Lots for Shuttles $5 per car -Parking Lot 1 – Plymouth Meeting Mall Business Center
500 W. Germantown Pike & 600 W. Germantown Pike
500 available spots
Shuttle to depart lot every 15 minutes.

$5 per car – Parking Lot 2 –Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus
660 W. Germantown Pike
1,000 available spots
Shuttle to depart lot every 15 minutes.

$20 per car – Parking Lot 3 –Springfield Township High School
1801 Paper Mill Road
210 available spots
Shuttle will depart from this lot every 15 minutes.

$20 per car – Parking Lot 4 –Enfield Elementary School
1118 Church Road
150 available spots
Shuttle will depart from this lot every 15 minutes.

$20 per car – Parking Lot 5 –Arcadia University
450 S. Easton Road
400 available spots
Shuttle will depart from this lot every 15 minutes.

Satellite Lots & Walking – There will be 3 designated lots that fall within walking distance of the festival footprint. There will be no shuttle service to or from these locations.

$10 – Parking Lot 1 – Seven Dolors School
(1.2 mile walk to the festival)
1200 E. Willow Grove Avenue
50 available spots

$10 – Parking Lot 2 – Wyndmoor Firehouse
(1.1 mile walk to the festival)
1043 E. Willow Grove Avenue
200 available spots

$20 – Parking Lot 3 – New Covenant Church
(.6 mile walk to the festival)
7500 Germantown Avenue
300 spots available

HANDICAP PARKING LOTS – There are 2 parking lots dedicated to handicap individuals. There will also be an ADA vehicle shuttling between Chestnut Hill College and the Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church. Festival attendees MUST show valid credentials to access the handicap parking lots

$10 – Handicap Lot 1 –Blossom Philadelphia
(.2 mile to the Festival)
102 E. Mermaid Lane
120 spots available

$10 – Handicap Lot 2 – Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church
(.3 mile to the Festival)
8855 Germantown Avenue
75 spots available

Important Overnight Parking Note: There will be no overnight parking permitted on Germantown Avenue beginning 3 a.m. on Saturday, October 21. Any cars remaining on the street after this time will be towed. Additionally, only Chestnut Hill residents and credentialed businesses, vendors, media, and entertainment will be allowed vehicular access into the area surrounding the Festival footprint. All festival attendees driving to the area must park in designated parking areas.

POLICE CHECK POINTS – Important Note for Driving Visitors and Chestnut Hill Residents: Beginning at 6 a.m. on Saturday (October 21) and extending to 5 p.m., there will be check points managed by Philadelphia police only allowing vehicular access to drivers that are Chestnut Hill residents and special Harry Potter Festival permit holders (for exhibitors, vendors, business employees, and media). 19118 Residents must show their valid Philadelphia drivers’ license with a 19118 address. Chestnut Hill residents with out of town guests should encourage them to arrive Friday night and not plan on driving outside of the “festival zone.”

The festival zone will extend from Northwestern Avenue on the North end of Germantown Avenue to Cresheim Valley Drive on the South end of Germantown Avenue. The festival zone will also run from Stenton Avenue East of Germantown Avenue to Saint Martins Lane on the West side of Germantown Avenue. The ONLY CROSS STREETS will be Cresheim Valley, Willow Grove, Bells Mills Road, and Hillcrest Avenue. There will be partial access on West Chestnut Hill Avenue. Expect delays!

Exhibitors, vendors and businesses will have placards for special event parking and driving access into the zone. Those without placards will not be able to drive into the “zone” and will need to utilize satellite parking lots. Chestnut Hill appreciates everyone’s cooperation and understanding as the Police do their job to protect us and manage the traffic through and around Chestnut Hill.

Overnight Accommodations

  • The Chestnut Hill Hotel on Germantown Avenue is sold out.
  • There are several hotels in Center City Philadelphia near SEPTA’s Jefferson Station, including the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City, Four Points by Sheraton Philadelphia City Center, Home2Suites Philadelphia, Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, and others. Any hotels located within Center City provide easy access to SEPTA rail stops and offer accommodations from luxury to budget. Please note, none of these hotels are affiliated with the Harry Potter Festival.
  • There is also a cluster of hotels approximately five miles away in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
  • There may also be AirBnB opportunities in Chestnut Hill: search for ZIP code 19118 or nearby 19444 and 19119. For hotel packages.
  • For additional hotel and trip planning information, visit www.visitphilly.com.

 

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