Harry Potter is the number one thing that I am fanatical about. I have read all of the books no less than three times, I own the First American Edition hardbacks of all the books, plus the beautifully illustrated editions, I went to the midnight opening of all eight movies, and I have been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. I am a Ravenclaw and I have seriously considered getting a Harry Potter inspired tattoo. However, I had never been to a Harry Potter Convention, so a super fangirl friend of mine and I decided to go together. I only got to go for one day, so I missed a lot of good programs, but we still managed plenty of mischief.
The very first thing we did was get my friend a Butter Beer, because she needed breakfast, and at Leaky Con you have butterscotch flavored slushies for breakfast. After that, we went to a party game hour, that was hosted by the actor who played Frank Longbottom, James Payton. The host called participants out of the crowd to compete in a game of trivia, a spellcasting duel, and a game similar to Taboo. It was entertaining to watch, but there were a lot of people in the crowd, so the chances of participating were small. I wonder if breaking the crowd into smaller groups and allowing everyone to play as a team would have been better? Maybe having a limited registration for participants and unlimited entry for audience? This was still a fun event, but when only 12 people out of 80 get to play, it’s a little disengaging.
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We had a few hours until the next presentation, so we went to wander the makeshift Diagon Alley of the convention center. I was on a mission to find a new tee-shirt; my current Cornish Pixies shirt definitely qualifies as vintage and has earned its retirement. My friend had more of an “I’ll take the lot” mentality about the merchandise. I found my shirt immediately, but of course I still looked at every single last stall to make sure. The merchandise is almost all unofficial fan art, and most of it is really cool, it was like being on Etsy, but in real life. There were costumes, jewelers, wand makers, curios, artists and even a for-real tattoo shop. After looking at everything, I went with the tee-shirt that says “Books and Cleverness”, I also liked “Basic Witch” and “Flick and Swish”. My friend stayed for all three days, talked to every vendor and wanted everything.
One of the many things I love about the Harry Potter series, is that every word and name was selected on purpose, and has deep meaning. For example, Sirius Black, shares a name with the dog star in the Canis Major constellation. So, I was excited to attend the “What’s the Magic Word” presentation by Em Rademaker. The instructor crammed a lot of useful information about linguistics and language history into the short hour that she was allotted. I could easily sit through a semester on this subject and I’m sure Rademaker, could teach as much. At the end of the presentation she offered some fantastic discussion prompts, that were very thought provoking and engaging for the audience.
There were some amazing costumes at Leaky Con. My friend and I just wore our fangirl Harry Potter tee-shirts and that is what the majority of participants wore, but probably about 40% of all attendees were in full cosplay. My absolute favorite was an impeccably done Riddikulus Snape in Grandma Longbottom’s clothes. There was an adorable couple dressed as Newt and Queenie, and crowds of Beauxbatons girls, Prisoners of Azkaban and students in school robes. It’s so fun to see all of these people who cleverly assembled these amazing costumes, get complimented and asked to take pictures. Cosplay is such a fun way to feel immersed in the world you love.
Almost every library has hosted a Harry Potter themed event at one point. They always seem to be well attended and participants of all ages would probably attend these programs at least annually. Planning a Harry Potter Convention for your public library is something that could be done inexpensively and is almost guaranteed to get good participation. If you decide to host a convention, encourage participants to dress-up and take pictures of everyone when they arrive. Offer a variety of games, trivia and discussion. Guest speakers can be found within your community, the presenter I enjoyed so much works at a local university. Instead of having a marketplace you could easily set up several craft stations for patrons to make their own swag. I have even heard of libraries offering temporary tattoos at their Harry Potter events. Felix Felicis!
Let’s Collaborate! What kind of Harry Potter events have you hosted or participated in? Comment Below: