Potterfest festival returns for 9th annual run under new branding as Wizardfest

Category:  News
Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 11:01 AM
Potterfest festival returns for 9th annual run under new branding as Wizardfest by Collin Alekson
Wizardfest, previously called potterfest will begin on Sept 14th. | File Photo

Dr. Corbin Fowler is prepping once again to bring the world of magic to Edinboro’s community, as the ninth annual Wizardfest is fast approaching.

Fowler initially drew inspiration for this annual festival from the famous JK Rowling-penned “Harry Potter” book series and its subsequent movie adaptations. In 2010, Fowler and late provost Phil Ginnetti, along with other faculty members, began to collaborate on planning the festival.

“Not only was I energized to do this, but I was discovering that a whole bunch of people were feeling the same thing,” said Fowler.

The first Wizardfest was hosted in 2011, then under the name Potterfest. Since then, the festival has changed over time, eventually morphing into the Wizardfest rebranding this year.

The first four years of Potterfest were also highlighted by an academic conference, called The Ravenclaw Chronicles, which offered keynote speakers and papers by university students focusing on subjects related to witchcraft and Harry Potter. Eventually, Fowler compiled students’ academic papers into a book called “The Ravenclaw Chronicles.”

Today, they’ve transitioned to the Wizardfest name after communication with some powerful individuals.

“We hit the Warner Bros. radar screen, so I received some friendly email messages from them to me suggesting that they would really prefer we change the title,” Fowler said. “It wasn’t a big deal because people are getting the same message.”

This year’s Wizardfest will run Sept. 14-22. The events will include trivia contests, movie screenings, games, contests and cosplay showcase.

On Sept. 17, the Edinboro University Concert Band will perform in the “Harry Potter Music Night” concert, which will be hosted in Cole Auditorium.

“For a number of years there have been faculty in the Music Department that wanted to be involved,” Fowler explained. “This year, Professor [Charles] Lute will conduct the arrangements of Harry Potter music.”

The festival is also not just a university affair, according to Fowler.

“It was [about] connecting with school and it was connecting with local businesses.” Businesses involved with this year’s Wizardfest include but, are not limited to: Earthshine, Goodell Gardens and Homestead, and Hello Beautiful Boutique in Cambridge Springs.

Off-campus attractions hosted by the festival include the Wizard Escape Room being held at the Blasco Branch of the Erie County Public Library (Sept. 16-17) and raffle with the Wooden Buffalo Farm Corn Maze (Sept. 14-21).

On Sept. 19, various activities will be hosted at Goodell Gardens and Homestead, featuring Edinboro local businesses like The Kilted Kiln as well as the Tamarack Wildlife Refuge of Meadville.

A schedule of Wizardfest events can be found on Facebook under “Edinboro Wizardfest 2019.”

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