Hogwarts Homecoming in Eau Claire

A look into the happenings of the Eau Claire wizarding world

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Will Seward

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Hogwarts Homecoming in Eau Claire

Third-year advertising student Violet Doolittle poses for a picture at the Hogwarts Homecoming.

Third-year advertising student Violet Doolittle poses for a picture at the Hogwarts Homecoming.

Photo by Will Seward

Third-year advertising student Violet Doolittle poses for a picture at the Hogwarts Homecoming.

Photo by Will Seward

Photo by Will Seward

Third-year advertising student Violet Doolittle poses for a picture at the Hogwarts Homecoming.

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The L.E. Phillips Memorial Library hosted its third annual Harry Potter homecoming this past weekend, which was the library’s first time putting on the event without the partnership of local businesses and organizations.

“It’s not just for Harry Potter enthusiasts,” said Celine Bornbach, a staff member of the library, “but also fiction enthusiasts.”

Bornbach went on to explain that this event is a great opportunity to take part in role-playing and to enter a staged, fictional world, with other people role-playing as well.

People who choose to role-play can then also choose whether to role-play as a character from the story or as themselves in the provided setting.

“It started with part of the ‘After Dark’ series,” Isa Small, the programming and communications services manager at the library, said. “(It was) trying to reach people in their 20s and 30s to show what organizations are about.”

Though it is no longer part of the ‘After Dark’ series, the event still tries to reach that same age group in order to show them what the library is about.

“It’s another opportunity to experience the library,” said Small, a self-proclaimed Hufflepuff. “Fun, accessible and focused on literacy.”

Violet Doolittle, a third-year advertising student, was in attendance at the event.

“I just like Harry Potter and wanted to see what’s up,” said Doolittle, a Slytherin house member, “it’s interesting to see different people from the community — especially the different ages.”

At the event, there were six main activities for people to participate in: bewitching brews from the Three Broomsticks, House “mascots” from the Eau Claire County Humane Association — which featured cats, dogs and rabbits, a school “spirit” store featuring local artisans, a Horcrux scavenger hunt and diva divination, which featured local drag performers and Harry Potter themed crafts in the library’s Dabble Box.

Alongside these main activities, there were other, smaller things to do, such as “school photos,” a serve-yourself candy bar and some games which featured a real-world adaptation of quidditch — which was similar to a traditional bean-bag toss, with some slight modifications.

“Considering the  admission, I was kind of hoping for more,” said Doolittle. “(For the price) it was a little steep.”

Admission was $15 at the door, or $12 if you paid more than eight days before the event.

Abby Tschimperle, a third-year English critical studies student, said she is excited to go back next year to see how the event evolves, but clarified she enjoyed attending this year.

“Not only was the event well organized,” Tschimperle said, “but the people who came went all out… helping add to the whimsical atmosphere.”

Small shared that, with this being the first time the event is held independently of the ‘After Dark’ series, it will likely evolve in the coming years.

As Bornbach and Small had both said, enthusiasts of Harry Potter or general fiction alike are all explicitly welcomed by the library staff to enjoy the fun, accessible and literacy-focused environment the library has to offer year-round — not just in the case of Hogwarts Homecoming.

Seward can be reached at [email protected]

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