Philadelphia's Potterheads have something to look forward to this October after all.
After canceling this year's Harry Potter Festival thanks to mounting legal pressure from Warner Bros., Chestnut Hill announced a brand new Witches and Wizards community festival on Monday. The festival will kick off on Friday, Oct. 19 with a revamped Brews and Broomsticks pub crawl and continue into Saturday with a day full of magic-themed programming, including a zombie dance party, hayrides, a costume parade and contest, the return of the Chestnut Hill College Quidditch Tournament and the Woodmere Art Museum straw maze.
At its peak, the Harry Potter Festival attracted 50,000 avid Harry Potter fans. While most neighborhood festivals want that type of attendance, the festival struggled to handle the huge crowds and the Chestnut Hill Business District lost $50,000 on last year's event. But Philip Dawson, Chestnut Hill's business district director, said he thought the business district was on its way to figuring out a way to hold the internationally recognized festival sustainably.
Problems were compounded in May by a cease-and-desist letter sent by Warner Bros., which owns the rights to the films, to stop the event.
The Brews and Broomsticks pub crawl will visit restaurants and pubs along Germantown Avenue and costs $25 per person with pay-as-you-go food and drink specials. Attendees can enjoy performances from circus aerialists and fire-breathers, costumed actors and fortune tellers and a recreational archery range. The ticket includes access to drink specials ($4 beer, $5 wine and $6 cocktails) at participating locations as well as event swag, including a bag, cup, and T-shirt. Attendees will also have one free activity ticket.
The Quidditch tournament is free to attend, while the Woodmere Art Museum straw maze is $5 per child.
Germantown Avenue will not be closed to traffic for the 2018 event, unlike last year when 12 blocks of the avenue were closed. Chestnut Hill will have five public paid parking lots open during the event and there is limited street parking available. Overflow parking will also be avaliable on the campus of the New Covenant Church of Philadelphia at 7500 Germantown Ave. Shuttles will move people between Chestnut Hill College, where the tournament is, Woodmere, the overflow parking lot and downtown Chestnut Hill. Event organizers are encouraging visitors to use public transportation.
Brews and Broomsticks pub crawl, 7:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, $25, chestnuthillpa.com
Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, Chestnut Hill College, free