Harry Potter to spin his magic
Entertainment: Downtown transforming into The Wizarding World of Okotoks
Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 09:28 am
Harry Potter fans will get their fix of magic and wizards in Okotoks’ first tribute to the fantasy novels.
The Okotoks Arts Council is working to transform downtown into The Wizarding World of Okotoks with 35 locations for fans to immerse themselves in J.K. Rowling’s world of magic Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Event organizer Katie Fournell said approximately 30 downtown businesses will be decorated in the Harry Potter theme with employees donning costumes and selling hand-made products from Butterbeer soap to wands.
The idea of the event is for those attending to feel like they’ve stepped into the world of Harry Potter, Fournell said.
“J.K. Rowling has created a whole world in the Harry Potter universe,” she said. “It has a government, a school system, different job opportunities for witches and wizards, different cultures and every character has a back story. That’s what makes Harry Potter so amazing and enamouring to people is the completeness of the story. We’re really looking forward to bringing this event to people and seeing how they react to our little town.”
Fournell said she brought the idea to the arts council after attending a similar event in Kensington in Calgary.
“The arts council is really trying to become a more prevalent force in the arts community of Okotoks,” she said. “We brought the idea forward to the businesses and they were like a storm. The businesses have a very communal sense with each other so they’re able to help each other and make sure they’re on the same page.”
The arts council is providing some entertainment of its own to take the pressure off businesses.
Hogsmeade Village in the Elks Hall will feature Harry Potter-related crafts and goods.
A few blocks to the east in Triangle Park will be Azkaban, where Aurors will take payments to throw people in prison to either work under the guidance of 9Round kickboxing staff or bribe their way out.
Those seeking a physical challenge can sign up for Quidditch in Ethel Tucker Park. This wizard sport combines dodge ball, flag football and handball. Participants must be 14 years or older and the game ends when the snitch is caught. (For more information see The Daily Prophet.)
In the parking lot of the Grand Central, Fournell said there will be food trucks and a photo booth whereas the plaza and landmark site will feature live music, dancing, acrobatics, storytelling and magic.
Other highlights include the Western Wheel transforming into The Daily Prophet with a green screen photo booth, feather pens and gossip reporter Rita Skeeter.
The Okotoks Public Library will become the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the Okotoks Art Gallery will be the location of Platform 9 3/4.
Those planning to dress for the occasion can compete in the costume contest at the plaza at 1 p.m. for an opportunity to win $100 in Olde Towne Okotoks bucks.
Ladies boutique Ginger Laurier is going all out transforming the business into Beauxbatons Academy of Magic with a charm class, potions, chocolate frogs and broaches.
Owner Donita Beaulieu said the store will be decorated with French words and spells and the staff will host an incantation quiz and etiquette lessons.
“Raising a family we all read the books, watched the movies and listened to the audio books,” she said. “My son and daughter can correct anyone about anything on Harry Potter.”
Beaulieu said she’s delighted that Okotoks joined the Harry Potter craze.
“I’m quite excited about this whole event,” she said. “When I opened up the map from the Okotoks Arts Council I was very excited to read what everybody is doing. I wish I could go from store to store myself.”
Cactus Club Salon and Spa staff are transforming the salon into Nymphadora’s Metamorphmagus Salon where staff will weave house colour hair braids and tints and butterbeer braids, said receptionist Allie Ledoux.
“I’m very excited about this,” she said.
“I’ve been a big fan of Harry Potter for years. It’s my whole childhood since the late ’90s when the first book came out. I know a lot of the other girls at the salon have been fans since they were children. I’m really glad the town took the initiative and is doing something like this.”
Calgarians planning to attend can hop on the Knight Bus to avoid parking issues. On-It transit is providing transportation to the library from the Somerset C-Train station every hour from 9 a.m. to noon. The bus will leave the library for the train station every hour from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bus tickets cost $2.50 each way plus a transaction fee and must be purchased in advance before the event.
To purchase a bus ticket and for more details look up the Wizarding World of Okotoks on Facebook.