Friday Fest casts its spell on downtown Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Friday Fest casts its spell on downtown Craig

Families turn out for ‘Harry Potter’ celebration; DBA’s weekly gatherings to come back next summer

From left, Dustin Santistevan, Nevaeh Allen and Jillian Bennett wield their magic wands in preparation for "Harry Potter" activities during Downtown Business Association's Friday Fest in Alice Pleasant Park. Despite Santistevan, 9, being dressed as Slytherin's Draco Malfoy and Allen and Bennett, both 12, each in costume as Hermione Granger, of Gryffindor, they were all sorted onto the Hufflepuff team based on their birthdates.

There was a sense of magic in Alice Pleasant Park Friday afternoon.

Downtown Business AssociationDowntown Business Association saw aspiring wizards and witches of all ages turn out for the “Harry Potter” installment of the weekly Friday Fest activities, commemorating Sunday’s release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a new entry in the children’s literary and movie phenomenon by JK Rowling. saw aspiring wizards and witches of all ages turn out for the "Harry Potter" installment of the weekly Friday Fest activities, commemorating Sunday's release of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," a new entry in the children's literary and movie phenomenon by JK Rowling.

Downtown Business Association saw aspiring wizards and witches of all ages turn out for the "Harry Potter" installment of the weekly Friday Fest activities, commemorating Sunday's release of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," a new entry in the children's literary and movie phenomenon by JK Rowling.

Kids who came out to the park were far from cursed with lightning blot scar or otherwise, unless that was part of their costume as they were sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses — Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw — as teams for the event, as determined by organizer and Downtown BooksDowntown Books owner Liane Davis-Kling, acting as the famed Sorting Hat. owner Liane Davis-Kling, acting as the famed Sorting Hat.

Downtown Books owner Liane Davis-Kling, acting as the famed Sorting Hat.

Hufflepuff teammates Jillian Bennett and Nevaeh Allen, both 12, each showed up dressed as Hermione Granger, complete with school uniform and magic wand, which earned them some extra house points.

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For good measure, Bennett also wore a Gryffindor scarf and clutched a copy of the fictitious textbook "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which will be a spin-off film later this year.

Bennett said she only recently finished reading the "Harry Potter" series, having missed out on things like midnight book release parties that were popular a decade ago.

"I didn't really get to read the books when they first came out, so I thought this would be cool," she said.

Though it's written as a stage play by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany based on a story by Rowling and will therefore be styled differently than the seven novels, Bennett and Allen expect to love "Cursed Child" no less as they peruse the adventures of the title character as an adult.

"It'll be interesting to see Harry working with his son," Allen said.

Groups traveled along downtown businesses to win points for answering "Potter" questions, as well as engaging in activities in the park like a pickleball court and a washer toss, while a table of treats held specially made goodies for wizards and muggles alike with chocolate frogs, cockroach clusters and pumpkin pasties.

DBA's Kandee Dilldine said attendance for the most recent Friday Fest was one of the better ones, partly owing to some out-of-town families — in the area for the Seasonal State Meet hosted by youth swim team Craig Sea Sharks — dropping by for the fun.

In its first year in action, Friday Fest has seen "ups and downs" she said, adding that happenings that appeal to kids and parents have done well. Upcoming events for Friday Fest include a historical tour of downtown Craig and another round of square dancing and line dancing,

Even in off weeks, Dilldine said the response has been positive enough to warrant bring Friday Fest back next summer.

"We might do it every week or just once a month, but we'll do something," she said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.