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This Town Is Becoming Hogsmeade For One Magical 'Harry Potter' Weekend

Calling all muggles and wizards! 👍
A young wizard displays his wand during last year's Wizarding Weekend in Ithaca, New York.
A young wizard displays his wand during last year's Wizarding Weekend in Ithaca, New York.

Now this is some serious commitment to witchcraft and wizardry.

From Oct. 28 through 30, downtown Ithaca, New York will transform into a Harry Potter wonderland otherwise known as Wizarding Weekend.

During the three-day festival, both visitors and local muggles will enjoy a full schedule of costume contests, wand-making demos, wizard duels and quidditch games put on by local businesses.

The homegrown festival takes visitors into the fictional land of Hogsmeade without ever leaving New York. And the magic doesn’t come at theme-park prices: Most events during the weekend are completely free.

During the festival, businesses sell specially-crafted wands made from local wood. 
During the festival, businesses sell specially-crafted wands made from local wood. 
A quidditch match is played on motorized bikes. 
A quidditch match is played on motorized bikes. 
Owls are a key component of any wizard getaway.
Owls are a key component of any wizard getaway.

Wizarding Weekend started last year as the brainchild of local business owners in Ithaca’s Press Bay Alley shopping area. What was intended as a quiet community event exploded into thousands of attendees from all around the world. About 13,000 visitors are expected for this year’s go-round, Jennifer Tavares, president of the local chamber of commerce, told HuffPost.

The weekend “is like a dream come true for many children and their parents,” she said. “Events like this are a truly unique experience to which watching the movies cannot compare.”

This year, more than 35 vendors and businesses will offer special activities for the weekend: There will be movie showings, themed food tastings and even Horcruxes hidden around town for young wizards to find.

The festival’s main street fair is completely free, though a few events, like the adult “potion-making” (aka cocktail-making) classes, are ticketed. Even hotels are getting in on the action, offering deals for out-of-town fans.

Young visitors play a game of chess in their wizard cloaks.
Young visitors play a game of chess in their wizard cloaks.
House crests sit on display behind a case of handcrafted wands. 
House crests sit on display behind a case of handcrafted wands. 

There are no reservations necessary for Wizarding Weekend: All you’ll need to do is hop on a broomstick er, car or plane to Ithaca, about a four-hour drive from New York City.

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