Whew — I can’t believe it’s already April! It certainly has been a busy 2018 so far. In my attempts to catch up on some of the goings-on of the year, I can’t miss this one!
In January, my partner and I attended the annual Crystal Ball hosted by HP (Harry Potter) Ohio, one of the longest continuously running Potter fan groups. The ball is the one time during the year when members – old and new alike – get gussied up in their finest dress robes, share a meal, and dance the night away in the spirit of “well-mannered frivolity.” This was our third year attending and we had a blast!
Tickets are sold in advance and we were able to reserve a room at this year’s new location: The Granville Inn. The event had previously been held at a castle in the Mohican area but due to several factors, the event moved to the Granville. What an upgrade! The Granville itself is gorgeous and the room where the event took place made it feel like we were actually in a castle. Stone walls, large windows, iron chandeliers. It was great!
We arrived on Friday in order to help set up, meet new people, and get an early start on the fun. Everyone on the planning committee (plus a few extras, like me, who just like to help with setup) works so hard leading up to the event and works doubly hard to make sure decorating goes as planned. All of the work truly paid off. The decor was outstanding.
The theme changes each year and this year’s theme was “House Unity.” Attendees showed up in their Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin best. After striking out a few times at thrift stores and local malls, I decided to get my Ravenclaw blue dress from Amazon. It was a gamble since you never know what sizing, quality, etc will be like and I didn’t exactly plan ahead! My dress arrived and (while it wasn’t perfect) it worked like a charm. Thankfully, my partner’s mother was willing to hem the gown so I wouldn’t have to trip over myself all night!
At the ball, attendees enjoyed a buffet dinner and dessert, a cash bar, and a plethora of games/activities throughout the night. We got to mingle at the beginning by trying to find others who had certain collectors cards to make a full set (sort of like a scavenger hunt). Plus, each Hogwarts house was represented by a game or activity. We had fun guessing clues to get into a Gringotts vault, answering riddles to solve a puzzle, etc.
There are a few Crystal Ball traditions that happen each year. One is the group dance lesson. Not everyone participates, but it’s super fun to get to learn a new dance to some Harry Potter music. After some dancing, the Triwizard Champions are announced. This year, there were 4 champions due to the House Unity theme — one from each house. I love this part because the winners receive a handmade wand. They ensure that previous winners don’t win more than once, so only those who have never won can enter the drawing.
The night closes with 3 songs that are special to HP Ohio. During the last one (or two) everyone stands in a circle and joins together. It’s a great moment — definitely one that makes this group feel more like a family.
The fun didn’t stop there this year. On Sunday, a couple dozen of us went across the street to the Buxton Inn (a perk of not being out in the middle of nowhere!) and had a fabulous brunch. It was a great last hurrah before everyone had to head back home.
If you’re a local Harry Potter fan looking to get involved in some magical HP themed events, check out HP-Ohio on Facebook!