When we learned the 7th and final Harry Potter book was being released on Saturday, July 21st, we decided to wind it up with a bang. We decided to include all the merchants on our block and invited them to help us create a Diagon Alley experience, the magical shopping district where Hogwarts students buy school supplies every year. We started planning in April. 2007, wrote up a fact sheet, and circulated it to the businesses in our area, as well as to the Main Street, Inc. office.
In late May at Lansing Daze, our tent and display was set up close to Kansas Media One's display. Jessica, one of the Media One employees, is a real Harry Potter fan. When she heard what we hoped to do, she decided to talk her bosses into backing our efforts and also create a "Daily Prophet" edition for the event.
Suddenly many merchants wanted to play as well. Main Street, Inc. hopped on board as well, managing to come up with a small budget out of their hide, as well as using their economic power to obtain excellent liability insurance rates for all vendors setting up in the street.
We ended up with 34 merchants taking part in a pre-event scavenger hunt to find Harry's lost school supplies. Participants obtained entry forms and visited each of the businesses to find each item Harry Potter forgot to pack for school. Over 3,000 people picked up forms for the hunt and about 300 visited every single store and turned in their forms to be part of a drawing for gift certificates. Many said they had lived in Leavenworth for years and didn't know all these stores even existed.On the night of the event, counting all the comings and goings, we estimated around 2,000 people took part in a very fun evening.
Thanks to generous folks who provided their digital photos to Main Street, Inc., we have been able to re-create some memories of the Diagon Alley night on the 20th and the Harry Potter #7 release after midnight.
Kansas Media One's excellent advertising and graphics departments contributed numerous posters such as this one to inform the public of the coming event and its many different aspects.
Main Street, Inc. provided essential assistance in obtaining resources and cutting through red tape at the government level. City Hall, by the way, became one our biggest supporters.
Children patiently lined up for the ever popular face paintings (FREE) courtesy of Stevie's Antiques.
Speaking of FREE, downtown resident, John Peterson, provided an immense amount of
FREE Food to the public that night.
One of the nicest aspects of the Diagon Alley event was how it attracted folks of all ages, races, and interests, and how much fun was had by everyone.
The costume contest was set up for all ages, and many came to line up and be judged with their age peers.
Props were an important part of peoples' costumes, whether they were crystal balls, brooms, or staffs.
This owl was typical of the items displayed in windows for the hunt.
Costumes were quite inventive.
A model witch showing off the latest magical fashion.
An escaped prisoner from Azkaban.
A very realistic House Elf
A young Harry ready for school
A stylish wizard
Zombie Mom and Daughter
Wizards Young and Old
A Cute Kitty
A Hairy Wizard
A Poster Witch
A Vampy Rachael as Rita Skeeter
Sally Graham of Sally's Choices with older and younger friends
Artist At Work
Do Not Aggravate this Lady
Media One Bake Sale to Raise Money for Literacy
Teri's Cute Stuffed Animals with Main Street, Inc. Director Wendy Scheidt in the white shirt below.
Harry Potter Items for Sale
Vendors and their Wares
at Berkay Antiques
John Graham of Sally's Choices
and River Gallery
Meredith Timmons of
Kansas Media One
T-Shirt Sales Were Fantastic
Bob Spear getting ready to draw for prizes in front of The Book Barn. Note the Nutcracker Security Squad on duty behind him.
A number of Leavenworth businesses briefly took on the names of Diagon Alley businesses, as was the case in the Corner Pharmacy taking on "Florean Fortescues," a popular ice cream store. Above, we see their new sign and in keeping with that theme, the empty Sunday dish placed in the window for the scavenger hunt. On the right, we see their specialty menu to be used the one night of the Diagon Alley event. That night, people began lining up outside because the inside was totally packed. They sold out of food after only a couple of hours.
We were most fortunate to have two bicycle-bourne police officers who insured all was safe and secure--no problems that night, and they had a lot of fun too.
The picture on the left shows the screen where the Harry Potter movie was shown.
The other two pictures on the right give a good idea of how popular this event was, as do the three aerial shots shown below. In addition, Jennifer Brenneman conducted a trivia contest in the street.
Finally, here are pictures of happy attendees, Marianne Tennant, and ex-Mayor Lisa Weakley and her husband.
The picture below is of the Governor's Award Main Street received because of our Diagon Alley Event.
MidAmerica National Bank became Gringotts Bank for the evening and provided a "Guess How Many M&Ms" game for prizes.