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Edinboro University’s spectacular Potterfest will be hosted by campus and community

Week-long festival starts Monday

10/10/2012

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga has not only enhanced the imaginations of children and adults, but also affected culture throughout the world – and starting Monday that phenomenon returns to Edinboro University and the surrounding Edinboro community in the form of the region’s 2nd Annual week-long Potterfest.

Capturing the minds and hearts of Potter enthusiasts of all ages, Rowling’s adventures of Harry Potter and friends have led globally to the creation of a theme park, the adoption of a new sport, the taste for unique food and drink and the desire to read more about the characters. As a result, an Edinboro University professor’s vision for a major “wizardly” fun and academic event spread across multiple venues again comes to life Monday and won’t end until the following Saturday.

Potterfest was created last year by Dr. Corbin Fowler, a longtime Edinboro University philosophy professor who reached out to Edinboro’s Office of Academic Affairs and the Edinboro business community to bring his vision to fruition. In creating the successful festival, Fowler credited the cooperation and assistance he received from area businesses, organizations, Edinboro campus officials, faculty and staff.

“The saga of Harry Potter penned by J.K. Rowling is a heroes’ journey about friendship and family values,” Fowler has explained. “Many kids have grown up with these books and movies. It has been fantasy fun, but also much more than that. The work of Rowling has affected culture around the world …

“The Harry Potter story has not only inspired new generations to become readers, it is filled with profound mythical and philosophic themes … almost every academic discipline has been touched by Rowling’s work.”

According to Dr. Fowler, Harry Potter is obviously a mass marketing success, “but it is also a story about the on-going human condition. How should we care for orphans? What kind of education is best for our youth? How should we cope with death? Should we have an unconditional ban on murder, domination, and involuntary servitude? Are we right to treat other creatures cruelly or simply as means to our own convenience? Should torture always be wrong and illegal?”

Fowler believes these issues and more raised by the Harry Potter saga “will continue to be an intellectual gold mine for many years to come.”

Edinboro’s Potterfest is Fowler’s effort to share the genius of J.K. Rowling through education and fun in a University collaboration with area businesses “and citizens of good will!”

The Edinboro Potterfest will take place October 15-20, both on and off Edinboro’s campus. Each day will include unique, exciting events, such as the daily Magic Corn Maze at the Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine at the Baron-Forness Library, an Edinboro student art show, also at the library, and Potter-related “specials” at downtown Edinboro businesses.

On Monday, Potterfest begins from 4 to 7 p.m. with “Potter’s Potions: The Magic of Chemistry,” at the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania offices, 5681 Route 6N, just west of Edinboro. Later, the Potterbowl Trivia Contest will be staged in the Pogue Student Center’s Multipurpose Room from 7-9:30 p.m.  Individual contestants and teams will be asked questions about the Harry Potter novels and movies.

On Tuesday, the opening ceremony for the Harry Potter’s World Exhibit and an awards ceremony for the Student Art Exhibit will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Baron-Forness Library. Timber, an extraordinary harpist, also will perform at 8 p.m. in the Pogue Student Center’s Multipurpose Room.

The mini-version of “A Very Potter Musical” will be staged Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Diebold Center for the Performing Arts.

Potterfest’s two-day Ravenclaw Academic Conference, a key component of this year’s festival, begins Thursday at the R. Benjamin Wiley Arts and Science Center, with sessions from 4 to 6 p.m. and 7:15 to 10 p.m., and again on Friday with sessions from 3 to 5:45 p.m., and from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Also Thursday, community lectures will be presented at the Diebold Center for the Performing Arts from 6 to 10 p.m. “Beyond Harry Potter-The Healing and Presence of the Other Side,” is a two-part lecture regarding Reiki/Energy healings by Jenn Shepherd, while James McCann will present the “Science of the Paranormal” at 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s events include an afternoon Tri-wizard Challenge at the Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm, and Magician Josh McVicar, The Trickster, at 8 p.m. in historic Louis C. Cole Auditorium-Memorial Hall. 

And on Saturday, the final day of the Potterfest, kids will have an opportunity to experience classes in wizardry during “A Day at the Castle” at Edinboro University’s Miller Center. From 9 a.m. to noon, introductory classes will be offered in Quidditch, Herbology, Potions and Wizard’s Chess. At the conclusion of their “castle time,” students will be expected to pass their O.W.L.’s (Ordinary Wizard Level) exam as well as compete with their official House for the House Cup.

Other Saturday events include the Tri-wizard Challenge Cup’s final event, the Edinboro Lake Canoe Rescue Race at 10 a.m. at the Lake Resort Cabin docks, the “It Which Must Not Be Named” quidditch tournament, featuring Edinboro’s own “Flying Scots,” at 11 a.m. on the lawns between Loveland, Doucette and Crawford Halls, Forbidden Forest Tours in Goodell Gardens from 2 to 5 p.m., and the Deathly Hallows Ball, featuring the Whomping Willows, from 9 to 11 p.m. in Edinboro University’s Crawford gymnasium.

Some events throughout the week will require small entry fees. For more information and complete schedule and contact listings, please log on to www.potterfest.com.

Potterfest creator Fowler said he expects audiences and participants of all interests to enjoy the festivities, and expressed hope the festival will continue to grow and expand even more in future years.

(Note to news directors, assigning and photo editors: Outstanding video, photo and interview opportunities will be available throughout Potterfest week.