Muggles, rejoice! The always-enchanting Chestnut Hill turns downright magical this October with the return of Harry Potter Weekend. From a fast-paced Quidditch tournament to hunting for Horcruxes to delicious Butterbeer, all your wizarding world fantasies come to life – no wand necessary. – Chelsea Karnash
WHAT: Chestnut Hill transforms into Hogsmeade, complete with a Diagon Alley full of food trucks (The Market at Fareway), for two days only. Thousands are expected to attend the all-ages festival, which includes an HP-themed pub crawl, the Brotherly Love Quidditch Tournament, a “Hunt for the Horcrux,” food and drink specials, magic demonstrations, fortune tellers and more.
WHERE: The festivities span from Chestnut Hill College down Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia’s charming Chestnut Hill neighborhood.
WHEN: Friday, October 18th and Saturday, October 19th – just in time for Halloween, so come in costume if you want!
SCHEDULE: With so many events on the schedule, you might need to borrow Hermione Granger’s time-turner to hit ‘em all. Here’s what you’re in for:
Dumbledore’s Dubbel Release Party
Iron Hill Brewery
Potter-approved food and drinks make their debut at Iron Hill, including the “Dumbledore Dubbel,” a mahogany ale that infuses the sweetness of Belgian candi sugar with the distinct aromas of plums and pears, as well as a slew of other beers with names like “Weasley Weisse” and “Leviosa IPA.” The beers are accompanied by a special Harry Potter menu, featuring noshes such as “The Three Broomsticks Soup” (beer and cheese soup with kielbasa, potatoes and sharp cheddar), “The Hog’s Head Pizza” (pepperoni, garlic sausage, Genoa salami, pancetta, tomato sauce, parmigiano reggiano and mozzarella cheese pizza) and even Harry’s favorite dessert, Treacle Tart. Smaller fans don’t have to miss out, either: Non-alcoholic Butterbeer will be available all weekend long.
Top of the Hill
Join Dumbledore for a pep rally in honor of the Saturday’s big Quidditch tourney. In addition to remarks from the beloved headmaster himself, muggles can expect costumed characters, music and more.
Harry Potter Pub Crawl
Various bars along Germantown Ave
7 – 9 p.m., 215-247-6696 for reservations
Enjoy a fresh Butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron or The Three Broomsticks during this pub crawl to Tavern on the Hill, Iron Hill, Campbell’s, McNally’s and other Chestnut Hill watering holes – just don’t turn into a blithering mess like Slughorn in “The Half-Blood Prince.”
Brotherly Love Quidditch Cup
Chestnut Hill College
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Watch as eight college Quidditch teams battle to see who will catch the Golden Snitch. Participating squads comes from places like Lafayette, Kutztown, Penn State and Chestnut Hill College, and the final three teams will compete for the Cup. While you’re watching the games, expect fun diversions including fall foods, Quidditch merchandise and even potions demos. Just beware – Confundus charms are strictly forbidden, unless, of course, it’s Slytherin on the pitch.
“The Hunt for the Horcrux”
Along Germantown Ave
Don’t worry – this hunt isn’t nearly as taxing as Harry, Hermione and Ron’s search for hidden pieces of Voldemort’s soul. Instead, wizard-wannabes can traipse up and down the Avenue to various Potter-themed activity stations, or stop into “Diagon Alley” for food truck goodies.
Norwood Fontbonne Academy
Say sayonara to the wizarding world as HP Weekend comes to a close with costumed characters and all the pomp and circumstance you’d expect from a Hogwarts celebration.
Dumbledore’s Powers Maze
Woodmere Art Museum
Fridays, 6 – 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (through Nov. 3rd)
Don your cloak of invisibility and take a trek through Dumbledore’s straw maze, where you’ll discover the legendary wizard’s manifold powers. When you’ve tired of exploring the labyrinth, take a break and create your own Marauder’s Map, or cop a treat from The Trolley.
TRANSPORTATION: Sadly, you can’t just apparate or hop on a Threstral to get from Center City to Chestnut Hill, but taking public transportation is always encouraged. To get to Chestnut Hill, take SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West Regional Rail line or the 23 bus. Or, take the L bus from Olney Transportation Center.
Once you’ve arrived in Chestnut Hill, the event’s sponsors have conjured a free Knight Bus Trolley to convey lucky witches and wizards up and down Germantown Avenue. And on Saturday, the Hogwarts Express shuttle (also gratis) will be making frequent stops at the Chestnut Hill West Station, with additional stops at Chestnut Hill College and the Top of the Hill.
For more information on Chestnut Hill’s magical Harry Potter weekend, visit: www.chestnuthillpa.com.