Chestnut Hill transforms into an enchanted village for annual Harry Potter festival

Chestnut Hill was enchantingly turned into a wizarding world at the 2nd Annual Harry Potter Festival on Oct. 17 and 18. 

Filled with butterbeer, wand-waving and Harry Potter-themed fun, over 10,000 people came out to Germantown Avenue for the festivities, many dressed in robes or witches hats. 

On Friday afternoon, Chestnut Hill College held a Harry Potter conference. On Friday evening, bars along Germantown Avenue renamed themselves for the Harry Potter pub crawl. 

The Brewery served butter beer for $3.95, an all-age butterscotch soda concoction with whipped cream. For adults there was Dumbledore’s Dubbel, a rich, malty abbey dubbel beer.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

For $5, Tavern on the Hill sold Growlers and Potters Potwitch Punch — a housemade mixture of Firefly sweet tea vodka, Fireball whiskey, peach schnapps and sour mix. Black ice made the cauldron it was in smoke like a potion.

For families, most of the magic started on Saturday morning when a packed 9:50 a.m. SEPTA train pulled into Chestnut Hill West station as the Hogwarts Express.

Characters dressed as Harry, Ron, Hermoine and Dumbledore — to name a few — were on board to parade up to the Opening Ceremony on the station lawn.

Hundreds of children and their families clammered to take pictures with Harry and other Hogwarts characters.

Dan Lemoine, 29, who uncannily looks like Daniel Radcliffe — the actor who plays the famed wizard in the films — says he was working in the area during the festival last year and decided to dress up as Potter for fun when buzz of his looks got around.

“I went to the [Chestnut Hill] Business Association and said I was the other Harry and that was it. I just jumped in and told them I’d be happy to do it. I love all the costuming and just playing around with everybody,” says Lemoine.

The Hogsmeade highway

Along the cobblestone streets of Hogsmeade, face-painting, fortune telling and arts and craft tables were set up for kids and families to enjoy. 

Walt Maguire, who runs the Chestnut Hill Business Association’s Harry Potter committee, and also doubles as Dumbledore, says looks forward to see the kids excited.

Maguire, a teacher for the Defense Against the Dark Arts Class, shows kids how to cast spells and duel with their wands. Afterwards, kids are called up to test their skills.

Maguire also hopes it brings more awareness to the local businesses.

“There’s great places to eat and it’s just a very walkable area. Its nice all-year round.”

The Quidditch Match

Visitors also came out to celebrate the Quidditch tournament at Chestnut Hill College.

The 5th Annual Brotherly Love Quidditch Tournament ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final battle took place between Gryffindor (Chestnut Hill College) and Hufflepuff (a team from New Jersey). 

Chestnut Hill College took home its first-ever Quidditch championship.

Terri Davis-Wood, 57, was at the game with her grandchildren.

“I’m not a very sport-oriented person. This is just fun. You can see that its competitive, but I love that the guys and girls are playing together. I love that they take something that is silly and take a more serious note with it and they have fun,” says Davis-Wood.

Alvin Arnold, avid quidditch player, appreciated the excitement of the game.

“We use this opportunity for our players, a lot of our friends come out here and its great to get into the Harry Potter spirit,” says Alvin Arnold

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal