Jefferson transforms for Harry Potter Festival
Thousands attend three-day festival
JEFFERSON, Wis. — People carrying wands, riding broomsticks and dressed in costume walked through the streets of Jefferson on Saturday enjoying the Harry Potter Festival .
Maggie Garvey came to the festival with her friend. She said this was the first time she has attended, and she’s been looking forward to the festival all year long.
“I have been to Harry Potter World, and I’ve been a die-hard fan since I was a little kid,” Garvey said.
She said she got to town Friday to enjoy the parade and would be staying all day Saturday and Sunday.
“I kind of cried at first because I was so excited. It was really fun walking in and hearing all the music and everything and seeing everyone dressed up and being with other crazy fans like me,” Garvey said.
She and her friend were walking through the vendor booths on Main Street. Elsewhere in the city, there was a corn maze, helicopter rides and a Quidditch tournament happening throughout the day.
“It’s great to see everyone else dressed up. If you’re definitely in costume, it’s way more fun,” said Don Greengrass, a Harry Potter fan from La Crosse. “You get to interact with other people.”
Greengrass said he went to the Harry Potter Festival last year when it was hosted in Edgerton.
“So far, this year’s festival has been way better. The only thing is, it’s a little bigger. So if you’re not taking a shuttle, it’s a little bit more walking,” Greengrass said.
“It’s amazing, it really is,” Scott Cramer said. “We never expected it to grow this big.”
Cramer said he was expecting around 42,000 people to attend, but by Saturday afternoon, he thought the festival had already exceeded that number.
Matt McIntyre is on the Edgerton City Council. He said he came to Jefferson on Saturday to check out how the festival in Jefferson compared to when it was previously hosted in Edgerton.
“I think what they’re trying to do is make it a good, wholesome family event, and that’s the key right there,” he said.
The festival drew fans and vendors from all around the country. Randy Meckley owns a broom-making business based out of Pennsylvania. He and his son and grandson drove 900 miles to sell their handmade Harry Potter themed broomsticks at the festival.
“I started doing this when I retired as a hobby, and it sort of turned into a small family business now,” Meckley said. “My son does the handles, he burns the handles and finishes them off, and I put the heads on the handles.”
Meckley said each broom takes about two hours to make.
“Every broom we have under that tent is one-of-a-kind, unique,” he said.
Meckley said he’s been to several Harry Potter festivals and conventions, but this was one of the biggest.
“Most of the conventions we go to are just one day,” he said. “This is the first convention we went to that’s more than one day.”
The Harry Potter Festival runs through Sunday. Rob Cramer said he and his brother had already started tossing ideas around for next year’s festival.
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