A weekend of wizards, wands and butterbeer

Universal Studios pulled off a crazy turnout for A Celebration of Harry Potter.

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Fads are typically short-lived and tend to fade as quickly as they erupt — even for book series and films that have society awestruck initially and seem to be literally inescapable for those of us not jumping on the bandwagon. Take a look at Twilight, for example; I never thought that craze would die down (thankfully it did).

But the Harry Potter bandwagon seems to be on a never-ending journey. It was about 16 years ago that “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” became available in the United States (feel old yet?); over time, not only is this craze not fading, but it seems to be growing.

So, as expected, Universal Studios pulled off a crazy turnout for A Celebration of Harry Potter (as if we didn’t freak out enough with the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010).

A Celebration of Harry Potter was a three-day event (Fri., Jan. 24-Sun., Jan. 26) of pretty much anything a die-hard fan could hope for.

First off, meet and greets galore — a friend of mine who attended this event had the chance to enjoy a ride on The Hulk with Evanna Lynch (the brilliant actress behind Luna Lovegood), and even snapped a photo with her afterwards for evidence.

In addition to Lynch, fans had the opportunity to meet James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and Matthew Lewis (Nevil Longbottom — yes, that dorky kid who all of a sudden became super attractive).

If you happened to get there early enough for the Friday night Harry Potter Tribute kick-off celebration you could’ve hung out with the above listed cast members, along with Kazu Kibuishi (the artist who recently reimagined the harry potter book covers). During that celebration, the whole gang watched HP clips and answered questions in front of hundreds of fans.

Throughout the course of the weekend, attendees had the opportunity to attend various other Q&A sessions, to be a part of a panel discussion with MinaLima (the creators of the movie graphics) and check out a neat HP expo of interactive activities. Not to mention, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Pottermore.com, brought to you by J.K Rowling herself — if you're into that kind of thing.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Pottermore, it focuses on the “unknown” parts of the series, and introduces it to visitors of the website in an interactive fashion (you'd be surprised what nerves you work up while being sorted into a house by the Sorting Hat).

Personally, I'd say the most notable aspect of this wizarding weekend must have been the wand masterclass. Fans learned the art of dueling from none other than Paul Harris — the very choreographer who trained the cast of Harry Potter.

Yes, and all of this came with general admission entry. Don’t be too bummed if you missed out; there’s more to look forward to. Keep your ears open and eyes peeled for the opening date of Diagon Alley — the newest addition to the Wizarding World expected to open its “secret entrance” this summer.


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