Calling all muggles, witches and wizards! Even though 2011 sees the release of the final Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2," the magic lives on, thanks to the fans. "[They] aren’t going anywhere,” says Katie Burnside, publicity coordinator for LeakyCon, the ultimate Harry Potter fan convention. Conventions, tours, even a theme park, continue to offer Harry Potter fans a chance to meet the movies’ stars, reenact Quidditch tournaments, read each other’s fan fiction and get tricked out with Hogwarts’ uniforms and wands.
Check out our picks for the most bewitching fan venues in the Potterverse:
This grand wizard of conventions has kept the wizarding world spellbound since 2009. Slated for July 2011, the 5-day conference in Orlando, FL, will coincide with the final movie’s release. The conference keeps the Harry Potter spirit alive with roundtable discussions and workshops such as, “The Harry Potter Experience in South Africa” (how life in apartheid South Africa was similar to life under Lord Voldemort) and “Why Fred?” (why the character Fred Weasley had to die). A panel discussion will feature new stars of the latest film, Arthur Bowen (Albus Severus Potter) and Ryan Turner (Hugo Weasley). The event will also showcase a documentary, "Finding Hogwarts," which features 7 diehard Potter fan club members. Plus, a magical infrared wand duel among 16 volunteers.
Always wanted to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Here’s your chance. On July 15, 2011, a full-day event, “24 Hours of Potter,” will recreate a year at Harry Potter’s school of witchcraft and wizardry, Hogwarts. Wannabe students will attend feasts marking the start and end of term, join a party for Dumbledore, and even play every wizard and witch’s favorite flying broomstick sport, Quidditch. The conference will even offer attendees the chance to participate in a Harry Potter-related fiction writing contest. Next J.K. Rowling in the house?
This convention for Potter fans in the New England region was started by a local Harry Potter Alliance chapter, the HP-MA. The HP-MA's Aeternitas convention will be held in May 2013, at the Margate Resort in Laconia, NH. While the event’s lineup has not yet been determined, the resort’s setting along a wooded lakefront location, with private beach and pools, is sure to keep the muggles happy, in between fighting the dark arts, that is.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, in Orlando, is like Potter-palooza for gung-ho Harry fans. The park, part of Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, recreates the cherished stories of Harry, Hermione, Ron and the Hogwarts gang through shops and rides. Among them is “Flight of the Hippogriff,” a rollercoaster in the form of dragon-shaped cars that loops travelers through twists and turns, simulating a dragon’s flight. Wizard wannabes stock up on gear at the Hogsmeade, a shopping complex with 6 stores selling wizardly goods. Pick up magic wands, Quidditch brooms and chocolate frogs, the favored sweet treat (complete with trading cards of famous wizards and witches!) for Harry and his Hogwarts friends.
In case reading all 7 books, watching all 8 movies and joining a fan club aren't enough, fulfill your Pottermania with a Harry Potter Fan Trip to England and Scotland. Ride the very steam train routes from Fort William to Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands that were used in the filming of the movies, hike to Steall Falls in Glen Nevis, Scotland (the site of Harry's dragon battle during the Triwizard Tournament), play Muggle Quidditch at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, even attend a banquet at Edinburgh Castle.
Lace up your walking shoes, and take a nearly 3-hour walking tour through Harry Potter's London. Highlights include the spot on Charing Cross Road where the Leaky Cauldron (wizard’s pub) supposedly stood, Platform 9-3/4 (yes, you can push a trolley through the wall alongside the platform!), and the Millennium Bridge, destroyed by the Death Eaters in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." Also included is a 15-minute boat ride along the Thames, the same route that Harry and the Order of the Phoenix took on their way to Grimmauld Place.
So Harry Potter fans, don your favorite wizard’s costume and carry on the Potter spirit at one of these tours or conferences. And if you want to visit the real locations of some of the places from the movies, check out our 'Harry Potter' Locations pictures. The final Potter movie is by no means the end of the Potterverse, or the magic.