The second annual Potterfest was held in Kent, Ohio on 28th July 2017. The event saw Potterheads of all ages flock to Main Street Kent where there were an array of adventures that were organized for them by the Kent University students and volunteers. One of the key highlights of the Potterfest was the Magical 5K Fun Run that was held along with other exciting events like costume contests, potion classes, scavenger hunt, magic, origami, vendors, photo booths and more.
Alyssa Mazey, race director for the Potterfest 5K said in an interview with Runner’s World, “Fans of all ages – ranging from 6 to 64 years old – thronged the site to participate. Since we didn’t have any age limits for the 5K, participants were free to get their kids and pets if they wanted to. So we saw a lot of strollers and four legged furry friends who made the race even more magical!”
Potterheads from all across the country, including Florida, Indiana, California and New York, trekked to Kent State to partake in the festivities and mainly the 5K run. This was the first time that a 5K race was incorporated into the annual festival and will continue to be a part of tradition next year too. The race saw an overwhelming amount of registrations within the first two hours of opening. “We thought maybe 200 people would be interested,” said Mazey. “However, when numbers started getting into the 400s, we realized we would have to cap registration to keep the event manageable. Within two hours of announcing we only had 72 spots left, we were sold out.”
For all those who weren’t there, everything about this race screamed Harry Potter! The race incorporated Harry Potter-themed elements where the course decorated with purple and yellow lightning bolts to mark the miles. To keep up with the magical feel, Dumbledore and Doby cutouts were set up along the course for runners and walkers to click selfies. The race was a non-timed event and participants had the option to run or walk the race. Pets were welcome and all the runners received medals and T-shirts that said, ‘Run like you are late for Kent Potterfest.’”
The other events were strategically scattered throughout the city where Acorn Alley was converted to Diagon Alley, Hometown Bank Plaza was Gringotts Bank Plaza, Dan Smith Community Park was the Forbidden Forest, Kent Wells-Sherman House turned into the Room of Requirement, Kent Free Library was Hogwarts Library, and the Marvin Kent train car transformed into Hogwarts Express.
There’s no denying that the 5K race had a lot of takers and Mazey along with the other volunteers is hopeful for a second 5K next year to meet with the public’s demand. “We need to be sure we are in compliance with Warner Bros.’ copyright guidelines first,” said Heather Malarcik, Director of Main Street Kent. “The demand is definitely there, so we will decide after the New Year whether we will host again in 2018.”
Image Courtesy: Jenna Kuczkowski & Aaron Self | Kentwired.com