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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

A new kind of magic

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A coffee shop features Harry Potter decorations and serves butter beer (Photos by James McCloskey Jr. ’20).

Festival continues despite name change

Witches and wizards hailed to the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia this past weekend to celebrate all things magic.

The Witches and Wizards Festival was held on Oct. 19 and 20, attracting crowds of magic enthusiasts of all ages.

Formerly called the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival, the Witches and Wizards Festival Weekend maintained much of the enthusiasm of the wizarding world through performances, activities and adventures for all visitors.

Emily Fannick ’18, M.A. ’19, attended the festival with her sister, Ashley Fannick ’19 and said she was surprised by the changes from years past.

“The festival was not as crowded this year,” Emily Fannick said. “Last year, the entire street was blocked off for a street fair, but this year they didn’t, so you were confined to the shops that were open. There also wasn’t as much merchandise available as last year.”

Due to legal pressures and licensing conflicts, the organizers of the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter festival chose to forgo all Potter-themed activities, logos and images and rename the event to the Witches and Wizards Festival.

However, the name change did not put an end to the popular event. Visitors could still enjoy a variety of wizard, Halloween and fall themed activities while walking through Chestnut Hill.

“We were a little upset that it is not Harry Potter anymore and that it’s not technically allowed to be Harry Potter,” Ashley Fannick said. “But it’s a wizard and witch weekend, so we still wanted to come.”

On Oct. 19, patrons 21 years or older enjoyed the Brews and Broomsticks Pub Crawl featuring 10 bars throughout a 10 block stretch of Germantown Avenue.

Although the pub crawl was not a new event, this year’s crawl included two outdoor beer gardens with performances along the route by circus aerialists and fire-breathers, a costume contest and magical food and drink specials.

Patrick Sullivan ’19, who went to both days of the festival, said he learned of the festival from a friend, but his love for the Harry Potter series sparked his interest.

“My buddy, Stephen, goes to Gwynedd Mercy University and heard about it on the news, so he wanted to come check it out,” Sullivan said. “I had never been before, but I have read all the books and watched all the movies.”

Although Sullivan opted to attend the pub crawl without a ticket, tickets were available for $25 and came with discounted drinks at each of the participating pubs.

On Oct. 20, families gathered to enjoy a variety of adult and kid-friendly activities along the Chestnut Hill Business District as well as at Chestnut Hill College and the Woodmere Art Museum.

A store displays Harry Potter apparel on the sidewalk and in the window.

The heart of the festival, along the Chestnut Hill Business District, allowed participants to embrace the wizarding world by dressing like characters from J.K. Rowling’s series while creating crafts, shooting at an archery range, taking a hayride through the festival and shopping for magical souvenirs.  

Shops throughout the street sold wizarding merchandise, including Golden Snitch medallions, wands, broomsticks and apparel so visitors could dress in the gear of their Hogwarts house.

Ashley Fannick said she noticed the lack of Harry Potter-themed attractions, but she still enjoyed the magic of the festival to its fullest.

“It definitely lost its touch of Harry Potter which is sad,” Ashley Fannick said. “There is definitely a lack of vendors, but it’s still fun.”

Although the name of the festival itself was changed, Chestnut Hill College continued to feature the Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament for the ninth year.

This year’s tournament featured 10 teams throughout the northeast region competing for the Quidditch Cup.

Syracuse University, Drexel University, Vassar College, Freedom Quidditch, The Rogues, Salisbury University, Stockton University, Lafayette College, Kutztown University and Chestnut Hill College competed for the title of Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Champion.

The tournament, along with the enthusiasm of the organizers and patrons, kept the spirit of Harry Potter alive for those who went despite the branding changes.

“My favorite part is seeing everyone get really engulfed in the culture and costumes and seeing the stories come to life,” Emily Fannick said.

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