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Photos, Feature Stories and Regional Events

Keeping A Mad-Eye On: The Harry Potter Festival

madeyeI never expected this to be anything but a quaint little blurb with some photos from a mild October day in Edgerton, WI. But it seems to be one of those stories that keeps evolving as the operator of the local Harry Potter Festival misjudged crowd size and event basics.
Many festival-goers can’t shake the memory of this ill-judged venue and despite tales of horror that don’t end with dining halls changing into house colors, it appears the festival will be held in Jefferson again (and again and again).
One very pregnant attendee remembers being afraid someone would hit her belly when people pushed past her to navigate the impossibly long lines.
“It was so disorganized for getting on the buses. No clear lines were made, no one knew which line was Red, Yellow or Blue…my friend and I waited almost two hours just to get on a bus to get back to where we were parked.”
Despite her calls and emails, this disenchanted fan did not get a refund.
If only they had broomsticks and wands (that weren’t overpriced and took forever to buy if they were any left at all).

You’d need to check in if you waited for anything in Jefferson


January 3, 2018
It looks as though Jefferson has the festival in its withered hand once more and may hold on to it for another five years. Since last year’s HP Fest was regarded as a costly disaster it’s worth keeping a mad eye on. Although it is worth noting that he city can cancel its contract at any time, according to this article in the Watertown Daily Times, it brought in $5.7 million dollars.


Fall 2017
There was a huge controversy surrounding the festival in Jefferson this year and many disgruntled festival goers aired their grievances on local news and social media. Overcrowding became a problem when vendors ran out of food and transportation ground to a halt. People complained about shelling out wads of cash only to wait in long lines for disappointing displays and features. I stayed away after I read a description that seemed all about money and am glad I did. There’s a Facebook group called Boycott Cramer’s Harry Potter Festival, USA after the debacle and plenty of articles like this one if you’re interested.


Summer 2017
The festival is in Jefferson this year, I can’t wait to see what they do with it. It will be hosted October 20-22. Stayed tuned for updates.

January 12, 2017
This item from the Janesville Gazette online may signal a change in venue for next year’s festival.
The Edgerton City Council denied most of the organizers requests for fall 2017 at a special city council meeting yesterday. Although the council agreed on sharing overtime costs for local police, they let more ambitious ideas such as The Hogwarts Express train chug on down the road unfunded.
Most of the requests were denied and festival organizer Rob Cramer pulled a Trump and wouldn’t take questions after the council meeting. He said other cities expressed interest in the whimsical fest which begs the question, where might the Harry Potter Festival apparate to in 2017.
Source: GazetteXtra, January 12. 2017
Note: These photos are all from the Edgerton, WI festival but it took a nasty turn since I wrote this introduction. The much anticipated festival seems to have lost its charm since it moved to Jefferson.  I am, however, adding updates from time to time. If this were another kind of article I wouldn’t accept anonymous quotes but having followed a Facebook group objecting to last year’s festival I can see why.
Some of my fav photos from Edgerton’s Harry Potter Festival


Original Intro, 2016
THE little festival down the road signaled one of the first cooler nights of the fall and then like magic, the weather was a dream until December— at which point it was a nightmare (and then not so bad again).






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