Potterfest: All About the Wizarding World


Emma Snyder

Edinboro University’s very own Molly Weasley

Emma Snyder, Reporter

     Harry Potter used to be banned from some schools, but this year marks the ninth year the book series has been celebrated with the Potterfest festival at Edinboro University. The event took place from September 14 to September 22. 

   Dr. Corbin Fowler, philosophy and English professor at Edinboro University, is credited with starting the festival in 2011. “I was very much aware, personally and otherwise, how the JKR stories had resonated in cultures all over the world, with both the young and the old (like me). I felt the HP saga would have a long lasting influence (for the good) in our world, and I wanted a way to celebrate and memorialize it. I decided to organize a big campus-town festival, and I found plenty of people in town and on campus who loved the idea. Many of them worked with me to make Potterfest happen, and we have continued every year since 2011. I now also teach a freshmen only class in the Ethics and Cultural Issues in HP.” 

    Like many, Fowler has been fan an intense “Harry Potter” fan for years. “This began when my wife read the first book to our young son, then he read the rest of them on his own, and was a passionate fan up through his early teen years. I got hooked when I read Prisoner of Azkaban (having seen the first two movies, but not having read the first two books). Loved it. [I] Started creating a popular culture class focused on HP and taught it for several years before the last movie was out and the series finished.”

During this year’s event, there was a corn maze and Harry Potter raffle at Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm Gift Shop and seasonal Corn Maze. Along with butterbeer and treats, at Flip Cafe, and Mugs & Muggles – Coffee, Tea, & Smoothie Shoppe. At the Castle on September 14, kids ages 5 and up were sorted into houses, took a whirl at wizarding classes, and competed to win the house cup. 

   There were also wizard wares for sale, and an opportunity to win a custom wand. On Sunday, there was Balloon Magic from The Real Magic Steve. They also had Martial Arts Defense Against the Dark Arts, on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, there was a wizard escape room at the Edinboro library. From September 18 to September 22, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” was shown.

     Of all these events, many enjoy the trivia bowl which tests an individual’s knowledge about HP. This is a favorite of junior Victoria McClelland who stated, “I like the triviabowl because the questions ranged in difficulty.

         Many often ponder if there will be any changes to the festival in the future.  Fowler has some high hopes. “I wish we had enough money to bring a HP celeb here for Wizardfest, and I think we need to change our venue to one weekend at a specific location. Some of the Founders and I are now discussing how we can do this, maybe as early as Sept 2020.”