Fantasy becomes reality starting Monday as the magic of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter transforms both Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the surrounding community for the second annual week-long Potterfest.
Potterfest was created last year by Corbin Fowler, a longtime Edinboro University philosophy professor who reached out to Edinboro’s Office of Academic Affairs and the Edinboro business community to bring his vision to fruition. In creating the successful festival, Fowler credited the cooperation and assistance he received from area businesses, organizations, Edinboro campus officials, faculty and staff.
“The saga of Harry Potter penned by J.K. Rowling is a heroes’ journey about friendship and family values,” Fowler has explained. “Many kids have grown up with these books and movies. It has been fantasy fun, but also much more than that. The work of Rowling has affected culture around the world. The Harry Potter story has not only inspired new generations to become readers, it is filled with profound mythical and philosophic themes … almost every academic discipline has been touched by Rowling’s work.”
According to Fowler, Harry Potter is obviously a mass marketing success, “but it is also a story about the ongoing human condition. How should we care for orphans? What kind of education is best for our youth? How should we cope with death? Should we have an unconditional ban on murder, domination and involuntary servitude? Are we right to treat other creatures cruelly or simply as means to our own convenience? Should torture always be wrong and illegal?”
Fowler believes these issues and more raised by the Harry Potter saga “will continue to be an intellectual gold mine for many years to come.”
The Edinboro Potterfest takes place Monday through Oct. 20, both on and off Edinboro’s campus. Each day will include unique, exciting events, such as the daily Magic Corn Maze at the Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine at the Baron-Forness Library, an Edinboro student art show also at the library, and Potter-related “specials” at downtown Edinboro businesses.
On Monday, Potterfest begins from 4 to 7 p.m. with “Potter’s Potions: The Magic of Chemistry,” at the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania offices, 5681 Route 6N, just west of Edinboro. Later, the Potterbowl Trivia Contest will be staged in the Pogue Student Center’s Multipurpose Room from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Individual contestants and teams will be asked questions about the Harry Potter novels and movies.
On Tuesday, the opening ceremony for the Harry Potter’s World Exhibit and an awards ceremony for the Student Art Exhibit will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Baron-Forness Library. A harpist will perform at 8 p.m. in the Pogue Student Center’s Multipurpose Room.
The mini-version of “A Very Potter Musical” will be staged Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Diebold Center for the Performing Arts.
Potterfest’s two-day Ravenclaw Academic Conference, a key component of this year’s festival, begins Oct. 18 at the R. Benjamin Wiley Arts and Science Center, with sessions from 4 to 6 p.m. and 7:15 to 10 p.m., and again on Friday with sessions from 3 to 5:45 p.m., and from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Also Oct. 18, community lectures will be presented at the Diebold Center for the Performing Arts from 6 to 10 p.m. “Beyond Harry Potter-The Healing and Presence of the Other Side,” is a two-part lecture regarding Reiki/Energy healings by Jenn Shepherd, while James McCann will present the “Science of the Paranormal” at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19’s events include an afternoon Tri-wizard Challenge at the Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm, and magician Josh McVicar at 8 p.m. in Louis C. Cole Auditorium-Memorial Hall.
And on Oct. 20, the final day of the Potterfest, kids will have an opportunity to experience classes in wizardry during “A Day at the Castle” at Edinboro University’s Miller Center. From 9 a.m. to noon, introductory classes will be offered in Quidditch, Herbology, Potions and Wizard’s Chess. At the conclusion of their “castle time,” students will be expected to pass their O.W.L.’s (Ordinary Wizard Level) exam as well as compete with their official House for the House Cup.
Other Oct. 20 events include the Tri-wizard Challenge Cup’s final event, the Edinboro Lake Canoe Rescue Race at 10 a.m. at the Lake Resort Cabin docks, the “It Which Must Not Be Named” quidditch tournament, featuring Edinboro’s own “Flying Scots,” at 11 a.m. on the lawns between Loveland, Doucette and Crawford Halls, Forbidden Forest Tours in Goodell Gardens from 2 to 5 p.m., and the Deathly Hallows Ball, featuring the Whomping Willows, from 9 to 11 p.m. in Edinboro University’s Crawford gymnasium.
Some events throughout the week will require small entry fees. For more information and complete schedule and contact listings, please log on to potterfest.com.
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The Edinboro Potterfest takes place Monday through Oct. 20, both on and off Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s campus. For a full schedule of events and related information, go to potterfest.com online.