We just got back in from our Fantastic weekend. The car has been unloaded, I’m sitting down with a nice cup of tea in my Hufflepuff mug after a delicious sunny side up egg and bacon “breakfast” (despite it being 1pm). It is amazing how “back to normal” things can suddenly get after a big event weekend. I’m still mulling over all the awesome things we did and saw.
We started our journey at 1:40pm and the day could not have been better, a perfect fall day.
As nervous as I was to drive out there it was pretty straight forward and easy to find (one road, follow the signs, nothing complicated. We even stopped at Taughannock Falls for a brief nature excursion.
We made it to the hotel by quarter to 5. The only trouble we encountered really was a weird direction given by google but was easily fixable and in my excitement over really and truly being there attempting to enter the wrong room (what was even more embarrassing was that we took a picture of the door first and I didn’t even then realize it was the wrong door…I really hope no one was in at the time)
Nothing much happened that night. Baby Bat immediately wanted to put her pajamas on and started calling the room her house and invited anyone we spoke to once we got in and settled to come visit her there. After awhile I did manage to get her into the pram and we ventured out into Ithaca. We really only made it to the library and we spent the evening the way we usually do at home and then went back for a snack and to watch The Sword and the Stone. Their library is amazing, at least their children’s section was anyway and we found an advertisement for Wizarding Yoga for the kids the next day and The Daily Non-Profit (see what they did there) which had all the info for the event and was not something they actually put out everyday.
After a relatively restless night (sleeping in strange places is becoming less and less appealing as I get older it seems). We got up, had our porridge, got ready and made another nature excursion to Buttermilk Falls which Baby Bat re-named “Butternut Squash” and she was not partial to it.
In the afternoon we ventured back to Ithaca and got our Magical passports. These are a particularly good buy $20 a pop and it included the Potions crawl, (different restaurants offered up samples of some fun drink concoctions…non alcoholic so its fine for kids), the artifact hunt and different crafts and games for the kids to do (like floo powder, dragon eggs and slime)….oh! and a hand written acceptance letter!
Things to consider: There is a ton going on at this festival, lots to listen to, lots to see, food that isn’t just your run of the mill festival food. We did a few of the crafts, had a couple of the potions but did hardly any of the artifact hunt. I think it was just really overwhelming for our first time and if I were to do it all again…I think I’d still get the passport because we did enjoy mixing slime and decorating eggs etc. The one potion that was really good was a warm cider mixed with a maple infused balsamic vinegar blew my mind and totally made me rethink how I use vinegar. Next year I think I’ll make more of an effort to hit all the potions sites.
We also made it to the Wizarding Yoga which was (i’m pretty sure) taken directly from Cosmic Kids Yoga (it tells the story of Harry and the Philosopher’s Stone through yoga poses). Baby Bat and I were the only ones there for the beginning only to be joined by one kid who tried a couple poses and left and another mother and daughter who came in for the last half and I think might have stayed to hear/do the whole story. In any event I ended up doing most of the poses and Baby Bat was a little more interested in dancing around. In short it was yoga the way we normally do it at home:
This was their first time doing Harry Potter Yoga so it was a little awkward…at least for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take any kind of yoga and while I’m working on my own Hogwarts House styled Yoga it helps to see other perspectives. But when it’s clear that my child just isn’t into this right now I’m left with the inner struggle of: do I get up and leave? They say that you are suppose to be excited and into the activity and the child will be excited about it too but the more I try to emulate that in these activities the more I think it’s (for lack of a better term) BS. So in the effort to show interest and in the hopes they would do it again next year (or advertise for it better) we stayed and me and the other mom got a great workout.
That night was the City of Magic Ball. I had these great fantasies of jamming out to various wizard rock songs or a live wizard rock band with other Potter-heads and swigging Flying Cauldron Butterbeer or other magical concoctions (which is what we do once a month at home…just the two of us anyway).
What it actually ended being was like a Halloween Dance. It was a small, intimate venue. Dark and lit like a club…maybe. there was a dessert table, and snack table (which had some really awesome cheese…like they totally didn’t skimp on the food). There was also a cash bar. People were dressed in costume or like prom style, it was kind of like going back to my Goth club days (and Baby Bat got to come too!).
The music was your average Halloween stuff (Monster Mash etc.), run of the mill “wedding” dance songs and some top 40 stuff (i.e. that new Spanish Justin Bieber song). Baby Bat immediately ran out onto the dance floor and started dancing, but as it was already late we only stayed until 8:30pm and went home to get a good night’s sleep.
Saturday was the big day! We got up like usual and got ready for THE FESTIVAL:
Baby Bat pretty much lived in her Frozen Anna Dress this weekend and was even given toward answering to the name “Princess Anna”. I was really excited about my cosplay costume (…I kind of want to live in my costume everyday too). First thing we did was get coffee and checked out some Quidditch:
I really wanted to watch my college team play but we left early today as it was raining and as it still is (presumably there too) it would have made for one very long, very wet day and being rested for the muggle world tomorrow was kind of important. Next year definitely want to make a bigger effort to see one full game.
We made some Floo Powder using clear glass vials and colored sand. and then we entered the main festival area. It was awesome to see so many Hogwarts uniforms and costumes, cosplay, fantasy you name it. If this was what comic-con is like I might have to think about going. We stood in line for awhile to get our acceptance letters (…which will be framed and put up on our wall soon). FYI if you get one of these you have to go in one line first to get your passport stamped and they take your name. Then you wait in another line to receive the hand written letter. After that we got our faces painted we went off in search of wands and food.
Baby Bat found a nice, small pink one that suits her nicely for the time being. (there were a few wand vendors but it didn’t seem like any sold wands of specific wood like Alivans. My wand is an Alivan’s wand and even though it is not specifically my Pottermore wand I’m really attached to it so I was really excited when the wand makers that Baby Bat got her’s from said they would engrave mine also for free (they were doing Initial engravings). We went down the Ithaca Commons and found a Hand Pie stand and Baby Bat and I both got some delicious pies. She got a sausage filled one and I got a Cornish Pasty (!!!!Delicious!!!!)
Afterwards we went to watch some live Wizard Rock!!! We saw Hawthorn and Holly first, they were pretty good and they had a Wizard Rock Holiday Album which I bought later (saw it on Youtube and was very pleasantly surprised to find it there). We also saw one of the guys from Draco and the Malfoys (bought one of their CD’s also…not sure if I’ll play this one at school as “it’s not very kind” but in a humorous way…they do songs from Draco’s point of view) I also got a couple from a girl we didn’t watch so it will hopefully be a nice surprise later when I finally get to listen to them. Baby Bat was most enthusiastic about getting out there with the other young kids and dancing in the front of the band. I got up there a little a bounced around but I mostly felt inhibited by being tall and in front of a low stage and later the wind picked up and my cosplay skirt was…well way to short ( and I wasn’t wear cute underwear either) so I felt like a prize dork for not getting up and dancing with my baby when she’s calling for me to come join her “Wizard Mommy Come ON!”
Well we wrapped up the festival and went back to the room in time for it to start raining and to meet up with a friend and go to the adult potions class. Again, it was nice to be in a room full of Harry Potter fans dressed in their finest etc. however, I feel that if you are offering a “potions” class at a Harry Potter event you should have the “teacher” dress up as either Snape or Slughorn.
The “potions master” was very good at explaining how different drinks and beverages are made and little anecdotes about the ingredients and how to mix them. Although the “class” kind of devolved into a cocktail party/local tasting event. Not a bad thing at all, many of the drinks were overly sweet in my opinion but I was feeling a little ill from lack of sleep and excitement from the day so I was kind of ready to turn in after awhile. My friend wanted to stick around and get food and a drink at the bar which I rallied for. I didn’t know what to order, I wasn’t hungry. Then I had a jolt of inspiration and looked up the Wolfsbane Potion which I have been wanting to try all year and gave the recipe to the bartender (who consequently was a big fan of Fernet-Branca) and then I had my second wind and the night ended on an awesome note.
Today we got up, packed and checked out. We had been planning on staying to see a bit more of the festival but it was raining cats and dogs so we came home early. The coming home didn’t feel nearly as long as the going (it never does). We are all talking about “next year” and indeed I’ve used the phrase in this entry. However I don’t know, there are other Harry Potter festivals to attend, I mean we could turn this up to 11 and go to Philadelphia or there is even a Charles Dickens Christmas Event nearby (it’s not Harry Potter I know, but I still feel this is magical). My point is, this was fun, this was a great experience. Maybe it will get better as events tend to do that go for long periods of time with annual attendance but why limit ourselves, it’s a big world. If there is a next year, I would like to talk to people more (a big goal for me as talking with strangers isn’t my strong point), get a butterbeer from the Marriot (I saw other people having them and it looked ridiculously good, it was on my list of things to do today but rain and 11am is still early for ice cream or whatever it is), will probably go only for the Saturday Festival and maybe (big maybe) go in Ilvormorny garb because I didn’t see anyone representing the new American Wizarding School.
Thank You Ithaca and Everyone Involved in Making Wizarding Weekend So Magical
Have a great Devil’s Night, a Spooky Halloween and looking forward to some culinary adventures this upcoming weekend for Bonfire Night. Stay Magical!