The Lincoln Children’s Museum encouraged adults to find their inner witch and wizard on Sept. 21.
The museum’s policy typically only allows adults accompanied by children to enter, but it welcomed anyone with a love of Harry Potter through its doors for an “Evening at Hogwarts.”
The event provided food, drinks, costumes and magical activities to help attendees celebrate their love of all things Potter.
Attendees could stop by “Ollivander’s Wand Shop,” where workers measured arms to find the perfect wand for each person. After a sharp swish of the wrist and some deliberation from Ollivander, attendees took their wands home in special boxes.
Owls visited the museum as well. Nimbus rested on the presenter’s arm as she explained that the snowy white owl is a European barn owl typical of the ones in the Harry Potter film. Later she brought out Halsey, a great horned owl.
“What I really want to know is why the owl didn’t know my address for my Hogwarts letter,” Shelby Smith said after the presentation. Smith joked that she’s not upset with the owl, but she would like some reason for years of delay on her acceptance letter to the school of witchcraft and wizardry.
In the “Great Hall” of food, crafted candles seemed to float from the ceiling as attendees helped themselves to food named with references to the Harry Potter series: “Ministry of Magic Microgreens,” “Golden Snitch Meatballs” and “Gillyweed Guacamuss,” a mix between guacamole and hummus.
Likewise, Code Beer served beer and mixed drinks like “Butterbeer,” “Polyjuice Potion,” and “Veritaserum,” a serum in the series that induces a person to reveal their deepest secret in the books.
Attendees learned their patronuses by playing the “Dementor’s Fright Game.” If they evaded the dementors—the creatures that consume human happiness in the series—in a game of almost pitch-black tag, attendees received a certificate showing their patronus, the anti-dementor spell that is embodied in an animal and acts as a shield.
The costume-clad crowd also gathered around the trivia stage. Marissa Gill Keyzer, the museum’s director of mission, ran the activity with purple hair and a Gryffindor robe in a mashup between the Harry Potter characters Tonks and Hermione.
When the competition began, Keyzer asked the crowd: “Who is excited?” After a meager response, she asked again: “That sounded a lot like Slytherin to me, let’s sound a little more like Gryffindor,” and louder cheers followed.
The contest was filled with obscure Harry Potter trivia, but the attendees did their best. Amber Wendt, dressed as the character Luna Lovegood, knew Voldemort’s snake’s name. She knew that “Kreacher” is not the name of Dumbledore’s house elf, and “Parseltongue” is the ability to talk to snakes, not dragons.
Jordan Beck attended the event in a general Hufflepuff robe.
“I’m Hufflepuff student number four,” he joked. Alaytra Beck, his wife, was dressed as Bellatrix.
Harry Potter is important enough to the couple that Beck proposed to Alaytra last year in front of the Hogwarts set in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” resort at the Universal Studios Hollywood Park.
Beck said Harry Potter allows a person to experience a story with deep struggles and serious plot lines but then feel at home with the funny, relatable moments of growing up.
“I think it applies to all audiences,” Beck said. “As a diehard, I look for the lore and details, but then someone else who’s just like ‘I like magic’ can enjoy it just as much too.”
Wendt, who dressed as Luna Lovegood, said the magic of Harry Potter is what drew her into the series, and she attended “An Evening at Hogwarts” because of how the Lincoln Children’s Museum captures that magic.
“With the trivia, with Ollivander’s shop and everything, it’s just all really fun,” Wendt said.