The Chestertown HP Festival returns Oct. 5-6
CHESTERTOWN — Now in its fifth year, the Chestertown HP Festival will celebrate the magical world of witches and wizards this weekend.
Events begin Friday evening and continue all day Saturday, festival organizer Tess Hogans said. Attendees can expect favorites of years past like quidditch in Wilmer Park along with be plenty of new events, Hogans said.
The festival officially begins Friday with a Kick-Off Party from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Garfield Center for the Arts. The party will include performances, magician, trivia contest, food trucks, costume contest and more.
Hogans said drivers should expect High Street to be closed from Queen Street to Spring Avenue starting Friday night and opening again Sunday morning. She said this is to make sure visitors have room to browse through vendors in Fountain Park.
Additionally, Figg’s Ordinary’s parking lot and parking near Lawyers Row will be reserved for vendors and volunteers.
Then on Saturday, Hogans said visitors should not miss the updated “Hogwarts Experience,” which is now called “Through the Trapdoor” at the Garfield Center. Children can go on a journey like Harry, Ron and Hermione did in the “Sorcerer’s Stone.”
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.
“Previously, we would take kids into the Garfield Center, but we could not take more than 80 at a time. We wanted to make it something everyone has the chance to do,” Hogans said.
Also new this year, the HP Festival has partnered with Kaleidoscope Children’s Art Studio for a “Magical Creature Habitat Workshop.”
In the workshop, children can learn how to make habitats for the creatures of wizards and witches.
Hogans said the Kent County Public Library also will have an expanded display this year. The exhibit, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday is called “The Shades of Erised” in references to the mirror from the first Harry Potter book.
The display will focus on Hogwarts students imagined as different races. Hogans said the display is a celebration of diversity both in the community and in the books.
Also at the library, there will be a diversity cosplay meet-up from 11 a.m. to noon.
Other returning favorites this year are a potion jar workshop at RiverArts held Friday and Saturday. In reference to the books, RiverArts’ will again host its popular “Talking Portraits” gallery.
The festival’s popular scavenger hunt will begin at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. Maps will be available at the Garfield Center.
Another new feature will of- fer visitors the chance to express their creativity while giving locals a sneak peek at new restaurant in Chestertown. Jeff Maguire will open the space for his coming speak-easy-style restaurant slated to open next year as the location of “HP Paint Parties.”
Attendees to the parties will pick from four different paints to immolate and add their own creative flair.
For those who want to flex their knowledge of HP triva, Hester Sache, HP Festival committee member, will host a HPthemed trivia contest starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $20 at the door.
As far as music, Hogans said Saturday evening also will feature a so called “Muggle cover band” while there will be plenty of “wizard rock” all day long.
Hogans said the festival in its current form is how she hopes it will stay.
“We’re trying not to let it grow past what it is because it would not be manageable,” Hogans said. “When we started this, we wanted it to be a party of sorts, but it’s such a popular thing and we wanted to raise money for the town while having fun.”
Hogans said proceeds from the event support the Garfield Center for the Arts and the Kent County Public Library.
“I think what makes HP unique is that it is really family oriented,” Hogans said. “Its a wonderful magical day.”
Hogans said outside of what is offered at restaurants, there no alcohol at the festival although there is a non-alcoholic “butterscotch beer.”
Hogans said in addition to the festival’s family friendly nature, it also is a fun way to begin October.
“You don’t have to know a lot about Harry Potter,” Hogans said. “We have this amazing historic and colonial town, so its fun to dress up and come see it.”
For a full schedule of events, visit chestertownhpfest.org.
Students are sorted into one of four houses, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, during last year’s Chestertown HP Festival with Professor Minerva McGonagall leading the sorting. This year’s festival will be held Friday and Saturday in Chestertown.