Sure as a stage magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat the NORMHC once again pulled off a phenomenally successful event. Saturday, August 31 marked the first ever Harry Potter Day at the museum. Staff was out in costume and so were many of the attendees—both young and old.
People began arriving twenty minutes before the official 10am opening and pretty soon, Poof!, the grounds were awash with Hogwarts wannabes. (For non-fans, Hogwarts is the name of the magic school in the books and subsequent movies.) Turnout exceeded expectations and the museum found itself selling out of Butterbeer (another series staple) and Hogdogs.
Crowds gathered at the Sorting Hat and to take lessons in several classes. One little girl was enthralled with potions, pointing to each colourful glass bottle and asking, “What’s that do?” Then, providing the magic was horrible—like ‘Turn people into frogs’ or ‘Cause a person to grow a tail’—said, “Can I use that on my brother?!”
Even though we arrived as the event was drawing to a close there were still plenty of people enjoying the day. Azkhaban Prision, located in the museum annex (Capreol’s old firehall/prison), proved popular, as did the Sock Toss and the Quiddich Pitch. (Again this all makes sense if you read the books or watched the movies.)
The only disappointing part of Harry Potter Day was the price. They seemed a bit steep for a small town event to me, but no-one else appeared bothered—not even when taxes were applied. There were some ‘freebies’—like magic wands and even acceptance letters to Hogwarts—to help ease the sting some. Those who arrived in costume got $2.00 off their admission. And the cost of food being sold on site seemed more than reasonable.
Walking through the museum grounds revealed many magical wonders, including skeletons and a giant animatronic dragon (it roared whenever anyone got near and turned its head in menacing fashion).
The weather cooperated, providing organizers a sunny and warm day, and the crowd was both enthusiastic and happy to be there.
Plans are already underway for next year’s Harry Potter Day, with hopes that it will be bigger and better. Which, given the success of the NORMHC’s first attempt, seems impossible. But then that’s the thing about magic…it makes the impossible real. And there was plenty of magic at the museum this past Saturday.