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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: December 3, 2018

Hit the club with fellow grown-up Harry Potter fans

Written by: Ray Routhier

A costume contest, dancing, trivia and Quidditch pong will all be part of the Harry Potter-themed Wizardfest Yule Ball Wednesday at Port City Music Hall in Portland.
Photo courtesy of Wizardfest Yule Ball

Growing up does not mean you have to stop being a Harry Potter fan or nerding out about the book’s tiniest details with other fans. It just means you can have a drink and stay out late while doing it.

The Harry Potter phenomenon is more than 20 years old now, so fans who got hooked on that first book by J.K. Rowling in 1997 are now in their late 20s or early 30s. But they still want to talk to other Harry Potter fans, dress up like their favorite wizard or wave a wand once in a while.

Luckily for folks like that, there are more and more adult-oriented Harry Potter events cropping up all the time, including the Wizardfest Yule Ball scheduled for Port City Music Hall in Portland Wednesday, Dec. 12. It’s a dance party, as the Yule Ball name suggests, but there will also be trivia and costume contests, a Quidditch-influenced version of beer pong, Hogwarts-style decorations and Potter-themed drinks, like fire whiskey and butter beer. Contest winners will get various “wizard-themed swag” as prizes.

“It’s a way to keep the experience going, another way of keeping the magic alive,” said Lindsey Miller, 29, of Portland, who plans on attending the Wizardfest with friends. “It’s nice to go some place that’s adults only and meet people who’ve been fans from the very beginning.”

The event is one of some 50 Harry Potter-themed nightclub parties being organized around the country this year by New York-based booking agent and Potter fan John Damiano. Other local Harry Potter events in Portland included a pub crawl earlier this year.

At the event at Port City Music Hall, people will get to play games and compete against “the other houses” of Hogwarts. Any Potter fan knows what house at the boarding wizarding school they belong to, based on personality. And if you don’t, you can take a test online.

Harry Potter fans, if you haven’t noticed, are everywhere. On the event’s Facebook page more than 1,000 people say they are interested in going. Miller is dressing up as a Norwegian Ridgeback, a kind of dragon native to Norway that appears in the books. She’s making the costume by hand.

“I’m excited to get into costume and hang out with equally nerdy people,” said Miller.

Photo courtesy of Wizardfest Yule Ball

One of those will be Ashley Ellis, 31, of Standish, who is making herself a Rowena Ravenclaw costume. In the stories, she was a famous Scottish witch who the Ravenclaw house at the Hogwarts wizarding school is named for.

“I enjoy (the world of Harry Potter) on the same level most people in New England enjoy the Patriots or the Red Sox,” said Ellis, a singer who performs regularly around Portland. “It’ll be great being there with people who have a similar level of passion.”

Wizardfest Yule Ball

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 (doors open at 7 p.m.)
WHERE: Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $15 in advance, $18 day of event, $25 in advance with wand, $50 preferred seating with wand, early access and goodie bag, 18-plus event.
INFO: Portcitymusichall.com

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