What to do during Chestnut Hill’s Harry Potter Festival

Jamison Walsh, 5, Port Carbon, Pa., casts a spell in Chestnut Hill as the wizardry of Harry Potter descends upon Chestnut Hill this weekend, complete with muggles, wizards, witches and a Hogwart Saturday October 18, 2014.

Grab your broomsticks and head over to Chestnut Hill on Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17 for the annual Harry Potter Festival. The town transforms into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley with decorations, festival-themed dining and shopping deals and appearances from franchise-familiar faces. 

Witches and wizards will convene at Chestnut Hill College (9601 Germantown Ave.) for a free, all-day Harry Potter Conference on Friday, Oct. 16, providing serious discussion and examination of J.K. Rowling’s books and magical world. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. The day’s talks include Harry Potter’s influence on literary fiction and psychological examinations within the series. And hey, if you look close enough, Chestnut Hill College actually looks like Hogwarts.

After a trying day at wizard school, those who’ve done their homework and purchased tickets will hit the town for the Harry Potter Pub Crawl on Friday, Oct. 16. Crawlers will hit top Germantown Ave. haunts like Iron Hill Brewery (8400 Germantown Ave.), and El Poquito (8201 Germantown Ave.) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17 is when all the major bewitching goes down. The day begins at 8:30 a.m. with a 5k run and 1-mile walk — both HP themed — kicking off at Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (8000 St. Martins Lane).

After the costume-encouraged run/walk, the day’s opening ceremonies will begin with the arrival of the Hogwarts Express at the “Hogsmeade Station” (a.k.a. the Chestnut Hill West SEPTA Station at Germantown and W. Evergreen Avenues). Departing from Jefferson Station (Filbert St. between 10th and 11th Streets) at 10:15 a.m., the Hogwarts Express will be packed with both muggles and wizards alike. Even Harry himself will be on board.

Perhaps the weekend’s crowning event, an as-authentic-as-you-can-according-to-science Quidditch match. Seven real-life Quidditch teams will compete in a tournament at Chestnut Hill College (9601 Germantown Ave.) starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17. While we’re pretty sure no one will be flying, players will play the dodgeball/basketball/rugby-inspired game on broomsticks.

A giant straw maze at Woodmere Art Museum (9201 Germantown Ave.) shaped as the Serpent of Slytherin will be open for brave adventurers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, Germantown Avenue will be the one-stop-shop for all things wizard. Try on the Sorting Hat, hunt for the Horcrux, take Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, check out magicians, face painters and more at the festival, which runs until 4 p.m.

Trading wands for musical instruments, the Wizard Rock Concert at Chestnut Hill College (9601 Germantown Ave.) features bands inspired by the series, putting their magical spin on traditional tunes. Doors open at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17.

For more Things to Do, check out our calendar for the most up-to-date happenings.