Wildly Popular 'Wizards on Western' Returns for a Great Cause
Wildly Popular ‘Wizards on Western’ Returns for a Great Cause
OKLAHOMA CITY — Organizers of last fall’s famously attended “Wizards on Western” (formerly the “Harry Potter Festival,” changed out of respect for Warner Bros.) are preparing for another year of magic and wizarding wonder on Sunday, November 12 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the historic Western Avenue district.
Last year nearly 20,000 people attended the festival, per event organizer Stephanie Humes. Humes also manages a business in the district and has enlisted a committee of community members, local non-profits, and more businesses are participating. Humes explains that the event is now raising funds for Horace Mann Elementary, the public school located just a few blocks north of the festival.
“One of the challenges we faced last year was space. It was important to us that we keep the event here on Western Avenue for the community that founded it and for the kids at Horace Mann Elementary. However, we needed to create more flow for the potential number of attendees,” Humes adds, “We expanded the size of the festival by more than two blocks and we are utilizing lot spaces along the street for vendors, activities and food trucks, so that the street itself will be open for easy strolling.”
Another new addition this year is the inclusion of Memorial Park at NW 36th St. just to the west of Western Avenue, where the City of Oklahoma City’s Parks and Rec Department is hosting the popular Quidditch games. Additional vendors and activities will also be at the newly renovated park. Back up north, Will Rogers Theater will host two exciting trivia games, costume contests and finally, a concert. The theater is thrilled to welcome a wizarding world cover band: Joel T. Mosman presents Neville and the Longbottoms. Attendance to the festival is free for all, with the addition of three ticketed events, the trivia games and the concert, available online and at the festival..
Event organizer Rachael Taylor speaks about the new activities this year, all being hosted by local non-profits. “We have more than 16 non-profits participating this year and hosting all of our magical activities. Many of these booths are ‘make-and-take’ craft stations. It was important that this event be about the community, and that all money made goes right back into it.”
Organizations such as Crown Heights Christian Church and Westminster Youth Group are providing crafts, retail and photo opportunities. Rebuilding Together OK plans a family fun area while several area shelters, like Safe Haven and the Humane Society of Central Oklahoma, are bringing dogs for adoption. The Moore Kiwanis Club hosts a Sorting Hat and the Aktion Club of Santa Fe Place plans a mandrake making craft station. The Homeless Alliance is hosting a clothing drive to “free the house elves” and even the El Reno Carnegie Library will be there to help young wizards and witches make their own quills.
Food trucks planned at “The Great Hall” include crowd favorites like Saucee Sicilian, Metro Minis donuts and the double-decker bus coffee truck, Junction Coffee. Plenty of market vendors will be located throughout the festival, however, businesses in the district will also open their doors for festival attendees. The Western Avenue Boxing Gym will host the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” class and Rug & Carpet will serve as the information and volunteer station.
Shuttles from Bishop McGuiness High School, located north of the festival, and First Christian Church at NW 36th St. and N. Walker are planned. Event organizers are encouraging folks to walk, bike or ride-share to the festival to cut back on parking needs. “We want attendees to please respect our neighborhoods, as there is limited parking on side streets,” Humes says. “Parking is available at Westminster Church for a donation and there are plenty of lots open on Sundays, off Classen, just two blocks away.”
The second year of this festival not only promises to be fun for all ages but also looks to make a meaningful difference in the community.
For more information on Wizards on Western, ticket sales to theater events and volunteer opportunities, visit www.wizardsonwestern.com.