Chestnut Hill's Harry Potter Festival

9:00 AM

I'm a very big fan of Harry Potter and last year I had found out about Chestnut Hill's Harry Potter Festival the day after it had already happened. I made a mental note to check back a year later because I knew I absolutely had to go to myself. After waking up quite early to make the nearly 2 hr drive up from Maryland I wasn't sure what to expect. Will it be like I imagine it? Full of people, dressed up, as enthusiastic as me. Or will it end up being a dud? Well, let me share with you some pictures from the event:


Chestnut Hill College made the perfect backdrop for Hogwarts. The beautiful stone buildings definitely made you feel as if you were at the wizarding school and looked very castle like. Throughout the day were Quidditch Matches being played on two pitches. The players (as well as spectators) were very dedicated. There were a lot cheers, goals, and hard hits. Like any other sporting events vendors were on hand selling everything from merchandise, to food, to "bubble potions" and butterbeer.

We made the walk into town to grab some food and there was one place I wanted to go to in particular for multiple reasons.  Iron Hill Brewery & Tavern transformed into The Great Hall with decor featuring floating candles, owl post letters, sneaky dementors and the house banners. Can you spot the letters addressed to Ron & Draco? And they didn't stop at the decorations, there was even a Harry Potter themed menu which made it incredibly difficult to pick something to eat as I wanted to try a bit of everything! I had the Pan Seared Chinese Fireball (North Atlantic salmon, sesame haricots vert, wasabi whipped potatoes & dragon honey sauce) which was absolutely amazing the heat from the potatoes really made my nose feel like I could breathe fire. My mother had the Butterbeer Braised Pork Loin (creamed spinach, roasted fingerling potatoes, braising jus) which she said was fantastic. They also had two specialty brews for the event: Dumbledore's Dubbel & Voldemort's Wrath IPA - I'm not quite a fan of IPAs so I went for the Dubbel which was delicious. 


Chestnut Hill's trolley was converted into the "Knight Bus" providing free transportation up and down the avenue for anyone that didn't want to walk then length. I didn't get a chance to hop on it but I saw plenty of people who did. The purple and gold even matched the real Knight Bus! Shame it wasn't a tripledecker though. 

The whole town was transformed into Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley with many of the stores and restaurants participating. There was The Leaky Caudron (aka McNally's Tavern), Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes (the local toy shop), Quidditch Supply Store (the local sport shop) among others. Butterbeer was for sale on nearly every corner and there were tons of activities for adults and kids to do from wand making to decorating owls. The sweet shops made specialty items for the event from Chocolate Frogs, Golden Snitches, Chocolate Wands, House Cookies and more.

The verdict: I loved it! It was honestly a wonderful event for Harry Potter fans to get together and not only have fun but support local businesses. It was great to see the whole town get into the spirit of the festival by decorating, making specialty items, activities and more. There were so many people there dressed up and genuinely excited and happy for the event. (And disappointed when Honeydukes sold out of Fizzing Wizbees). It definitely surpassed my expectations and I can't wait for the next one! Next year I'm going to try to get tickets for the Pub Crawl.



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