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Keene, N.H. Raises Their Wands For Second Annual Wizarding Week

Zoey Knox
Young wizards enjoying the magic in the air of downtown Keene.

In celebration of Harry Potter’s birthday, businesses in Keene are creating special items, like golden-snitch cake pops, hosting Harry Potter-themed games and activities, and decorating with Hogwarts house colors for its second annual Wizarding Week. Children can sign up for a "broom-riding" class, make bubbling potions and learn spells.

wizard shop
Zoey Knox
Downtown businesses transformed into magical shops for Wizarding Week.

Young and old attend the event. Self-proclaimed ‘Potterheads’ descend onto the streets in robes adorned with the Hogwarts house crest. Some have wands and some have brooms, but all carry the smile of excitement and child-like wonder.

Wizarding Week comes at a time when the Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, is being scrutinized for her comments on sex and gender.

Rowling was criticized for tweeting her support of U.K.-based researcher Maya Forstater, who lost her job after making anti-trans comments. Rowling has also liked tweets with anti-trans sentiment in the past.

Amy Christiansen-Schoefmann, an organizer for the event and owner of Eat More Cake Bakery, says she wanted to create the event as a way to bring the community together and embrace the fun spirit of the summer.

“I think overall we are just in such a place that we want to be; happy and around people,” says Christiansen-Schoefmann. “People on the streets just smiling, smiling and saying hi and oh, I love your costume and interacting in a way we haven't been able to in the last year.”

wizard goodies
Zoey Knox
Shop displays in downtown Keene are all Harry Potter themed for the week of the wizard's birthday.

For Skarlit, a young wizard attending the festivities, coming to Wizarding Week was a way for her to express her love for the series.

“I started reading them a few years ago,” says Skarlit. “My teacher showed me the books and I thought they were really cool.”

Some kids found that their parents were more interested in the festivities than they were.

Crystal Simpson came to Keene with her son, and as he held the box of Harry Potter-themed goodies, she was bubbling over with excitement.

“The whole point of coming was the Mandrake Root cupcake,” says Simpson. “ I was like, ‘oh my god,’ look at that. Amazing!”

Samantha Coetzee joined the NHPR team in 2020 as a weekend Board Operator and is now NHPR’s News Intern. A senior journalism major at the University of New Hampshire and New Hampshire native, Samantha is also the General Manager of WUNH, UNH’s student-run radio station.

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