Wizarding wonder gathers thousands in Tacoma
He who must not be named, it turns out, is Harry Potter.
At least that’s the case in Tacoma this weekend at the Weekend of Wizardry.
The all-things-Harry Potter fan convention at the Hotel Murano isn’t legally allowed to use trademarked names.
“It’s a wizarding-themed fan event for Harry Potter fans,” said co-founder Daniel Wehnert.
But, judging by the round glasses and striped ties, there were plenty of Harry Potters in attendance, along with other characters from the beloved J. K. Rowling series of books and movies.
Even You-Know-Who, Lord Voldemort.
“He’s kind of a diva,” said event programmer Miranda Fick.
The non-profit event had attracted 2,300 participants as of Saturday, Wehnert said. It will wrap up Sunday.
“Last night we had our Great Feast,” Wehnert said. “People were anticipating just having a fancy meal. When it turned out to also be a concert with Voldemort doing belly dancing with an 8-foot-long python, they realized they were getting much more for their money.”
Along with entertainment and celebrity appearances, including “Potter” actors, there were classes and educational seminars including transfiguration, advanced potions, dragonology and mandrake potting.
Vendors were on hand to sell wands but University of Washington Tacoma student Christie Peralta got one free.
“I was looking at the wands in the vendor area and they were cool but I gave myself a $60 budget,” she said.
Then, Peralta came across Sarah Weiler of Tacoma and her wand cart. Weiler spent the last several months making more than 300 wands for the event. Her husband made the cart.
When a wand-seeker like Peralta choose a wand and waved it over a cauldron, lights and streamers erupted. But only if they chose the right wand.
“It looks like you need to find a different one,” she told one person when the cauldron didn’t light up. “Maybe you don’t know yourself as well as you thought you did.”
In between ushering Valdemort to his various appearances, Fick checked in on the “I Married a Muggle” seminar. Muggles are people who do not have magic skills.
Fick, 35, said she is a wizard (Ravenclaw House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry) who is married to a muggle named John.
“He doesn’t understand a word or thing we’re doing,” she said. “I tried to get him to watch the first Harry Potter movie. We made it about 45 minutes.”
Nevertheless, Fick said, John drives her to meetings, cooks for the volunteers and is a supporter of wizardry.
“I even got him to dress like Arthur Weasley last night,” she said, speaking of the dad of Harry’s best friend. “He doesn’t know who it is but he’s been such a trooper.”