Wands at the ready!
One of the most anticipated festivals of the fall hits Chestnut Hill this weekend, October 21 and 22. The Harry Potter Festival returns with more activities and events than ever before.
Harry Potter Festival Fast Facts
- The pub crawl returns on Friday, October 21 from 7-9 p.m.
- The festival returns on Saturday, October 22 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- For the first time, Germantown Avenue will turn into a six-block street fair for the Harry Potter Festival on Saturday, October 22.
- Admission to Saturday’s festival is completely free.
The festival kicks off on Friday night with a sold-out pub crawl in the neighborhood, an open-to-the-public screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill and a Harry Potter-themed exhibition at 8614 Germantown Avenue.
On Saturday, the main event — the Harry Potter Street Festival — takes over Germantown Avenue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Harry Potter Festival
This year, six blocks of Germantown Avenue, from Rex to Willow Grove avenues, will be shut down to vehicular traffic and will open up to festival-goers only. The street transforms into the magical world of Harry Potter complete with re-creations of favorite aspects of the film, themed food and drinks, interactive Harry Potter-themed demonstrations and more.
Saturday’s festival events kick off with the annual Opening Ceremony with the Minister of Magic. This year, the ceremony starts at 10:51 a.m. when the Hogwarts Express arrives at the Chestnut Hill West train station.
The festival is bigger than ever before with even more Harry Potter-themed events throughout the day. Festival guests can look forward to free hayrides throughout the festival grounds, Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, Sorting Hat demonstrations, fortune telling, face painters, Quidditch training, movie-specific crafts at a dozen Horcrux stations, 4 Privet Drive and Hedwig Hollow’s selfie parks, face painters and so much more.
Note that while admission to the festival is free, some activities require payment — be sure to bring cash!
Even Chestnut Hill’s business and restaurants get in on the festival action by offering themed food and drinks, special activities and more. Chestnut Hill’s Jenks Playground transforms into Jenks Academy of Witchcraft & Wizardry for the day — think potions, themed food, crafts, games and more.
There are tons of events happening in Chestnut Hill this weekend for the Harry Potter Festival, click here for the full rundown.
Food & Drink
Tons of great restaurants and bars line Germantown Avenue and for the festival, said bars and restaurants serve up food and drink specials.
Visit Baker Street Bread Company for butterbeer bread, Cosimo’s for witches brew, Night Kitchen Bakery for sorting hat cupcakes, Weavers Way Co-Op for Polyjuice potions, Iron Hill Brewery for Dumbledore’s Dubbel and Voldermort’s Wrath and more. Butterbeer and Dementor cocktails will be flowing throughout the festival at stations all along the avenue.
One of the main festival events is the 7th Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament at Chestnut Hill College.
The tournament runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features teams from schools like Franklin and Marshall College, the University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, Stockton University and Philly’s own Philadelphia Honey Badgers. Admission to the tournament is completely free.
#VisitPhilly at The Festival
Visit Philly will be on-site at the festival during both the Pub Crawl on Friday night and the street festival on Saturday. Keep an eye out for special giveaways including phone chargers, branded sunglasses, pins and more.
Snapchat users, be sure to check out special snapchat filters made just for the festival. Be sure to follow Visit Philly on Snapchat, Instagram and Periscope to check out a behind-the-scenes look at the festival.
Harry Potter Pub Crawl
The sold-out Harry Potter Pub Crawl kicks off the weekend’s festivities on Friday, October 21.
The bar crawl runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 21 with deals at eight bars in the neighborhood — El Poquito, Iron Hill Brewery, Tavern on the Hill, McNally’s Tavern, Campbell’s Place, Paris Bistro, Chestnut Grill and The Venetian Club.
True fans are encouraged to don their finest Harry Potter-inspired costume (yes, scar and all!) for the costume contest. Judging takes place at the Chestnut Hill Hotel at 8:30 p.m. — the winner receives two tickets to next year’s pub crawl.
While tickets to the pub crawl are sold out, non-ticket holders are encouraged to join the fun at the participating bars.
Getting There & Staying Over
The Harry Potter Local (run by SEPTA Regional Rail) will transport guests from Center City to Chestnut Hill. Getting to Chestnut Hill via SEPTA is easy — both the Chestnut Hill East and West lines will be dropping guests off in the heart of the festival — at the Chestnut Hill East station and the Chestnut Hill West station. Those arriving via SEPTA Regional Rail should note that tickets must be purchased in advance.
For those driving, limited parking will be available at five lots in the neighborhood. Click here for info on the locations of the parking lots.
The Harry Potter Festival is the perfect excuse to spend a night (or two!) in the Philadelphia area. Check out the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for super deals on overnight stays in Philly this weekend.