Our Hogwarts letters of acceptance may not have arrived on our 11th birthdays. We may not partake in Defense Against the Dark Arts classes or possess invisibility cloaks.
But from the books to the big screen, J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' franchise has permeated popular culture and transcended the boundaries of traditional entertainment. In addition to the more than 400 million copies of the novels sold in 69 languages and $6.37 billion in global ticket sales for the first seven films, the world of Harry Potter is celebrated with fan clubs and Wizard Rock groups, games and merchandise and, most recently, a theme park.
On July 15, the franchise’s final film premieres for American audiences, and fans must face a future without their favorite wizard. In the spirit of keeping the magic alive, we’ve compiled a short list of events celebrating the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
Seven Nights With Harry Potter
For those fans looking for a film refresher and neophytes looking for a crash-course in everything Potter, the Museum of the Moving Image is screening the first seven 'Harry Potter' movies over seven nights for its "Seven Nights With Harry Potter" series. Watch Harry, Ron and Hermione as they travel the halls of Hogwarts and battle the darkest demons of the wizarding world. The screening series runs from July 6 to July 13, and films begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for the public and $8 for museum members, and series tickets are available for $50 and $35 for non-members and members, respectively. Museum of the Moving Image, Queens.
Events Sponsored by The Group that Shall Not be Named
NYC’s premiere Harry Potter meet-up group, The Group that Shall Not be Named, is hosting a number of events for Potter enthusiasts. The adventure begins on Thursday, July 14 with a dueling lesson in Central Park during which you can master the moves of your favorite wizards. After over an hour of instruction, join fellow fans for a light picnic and reading from the seventh and final Potter book, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.' Dueling begins at 11:30 a.m. and re-fueling at 12:30 p.m. Both events are free, although you’ll have to pack your own wand and lunch. Central Park, Manhattan.
Afternoon festivities continue at Barcelona Bar for a round of flaming Harry Potter shots. Stand back as a bartender, clad in Potter’s classic scarf and glasses, sets these drinks aflame with a little rum and a lot of sparkles. In addition to these vodka-based shots, the bar will be serving up other Potter-themed “potions” (butter beer, anyone?). This portion of the day, which runs from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m, is limited to the over 21 set. Barcelona Bar, Manhattan.
On Saturday, wishful wizards can celebrate (spoiler alert!) Potter’s triumph over evil at a V-V (Victory over Voldemort) Day Party in Hoboken, N.J. Complete with performances by Wizard Rock groups Diagon Alley and Swish and Flick, this evening of dining, dancing and wizardry-romancing is the ultimate Potter bash. Doors open at 6 p.m. and attendees are encouraged to arrive in their finest retro wizard wear. Tickets are $30 per person in advance and $35 at the door. Hoboken Elks Lodge, Hoboken, N.J.
Prospective attendees are encouraged to RSVP to each of the events. The meet-up group also converges regularly for Wizard Rock performances, quidditch games and other events throughout the year.
A Harry Potter Musical
Leave it to the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) to turn your lamentations into laughter after the final Potter credits have rolled. The theater's first installment of Potter-themed UCB entertainment, "A Harry Potter Musical," presents a curious addition to Potter’s traditional mix of characters: Jesus. The Kirk Cameron Repertory Players will perform their take on Rowling’s series, in which evil wizards face off against the man himself. This satirical show may deviate slightly (read: almost entirely) from the series’ original text, but it is sure to be entertaining in its own right. The musical theater performance begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 15. Reserve tickets -- which are highly recommended -- are $10 each. Upright Citizens Brigade, Manhattan.
The Hogwarts Improvisation Society
The Hogwarts Improvisation Society’s third annual gala is returning to the UCB Theater in celebration of the final film’s release. This late-night improv show-down between Team Slytherin and reigning champion Team Gryffindor takes attendees on a trip through Hogwarts, as re-interpreted by the two improvisation teams. At the end of the evening, the audience will vote on which improv team reigns supreme. The magic begins at 12 a.m. on July 15. Reserve tickets -- which are highly recommended -- are $5 each. Upright Citizens Brigade, Manhattan.
HP Fan Trips: Weekend In New York
This packaged event is perfect for hard-core Potter people who are looking to take the Big Apple by storm. Complete with hotel accommodations, a screening of the final 'Harry Potter' film and a performance of “How the Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, this weekend trip immerses participants in both the New York landscape and the world of Harry Potter. The three-day, two-night trip, sponsored by HP Fan Trips, is costly at $599 per person, but a nice option for those looking to enjoy not only a double-dose of Radcliffe but also the company of fellow fans. The weekend runs from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16. Manhattan.
Harry Potter: The Exhibit
Although this all-things Potter exhibition has been open since April 5, now is as good a time as any to get one step closer to the magic. View over 200 authentic pieces from the films up-close -- including Harry Potter’s original wand and glasses -- and explore the record-breaking movie series like never before. If you’re looking to prolong your goodbye to the series and hold off on the exhibition, however, take note of its September 5 closing date. Tickets for the exhibition, which is open seven days a week, can be purchased online, over the phone or at the box office for $26 for adults and $19.50 for children. Discovery Times Square, Manhattan.