“I’m 30, I grew up reading Harry Potter and I want to go to this event,”
When Bellevue Mayor Emily Marburger was running for the position, her platform consisted of revitalizing business and bringing the community together. After getting sworn in this year, she found an unlikely inspiration: a ten-year-old she saw walking down the street reading Harry Potter, who seemed excited to delve into J.K. Rowling’s beloved fantasy series.
Wizardvue 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $10 for adults, $5 for children under 10. Lincoln Ave., Bellevue. www.wizardvue.org
That encounter inspired WizardVue, in its first year, and aims to accomplish was Marburger set out to do in her campaign by combining wizardry, food, community and local business into a day-long event along Lincoln Ave. All proceeds from the event benefit the Friends of Bayne Library, a nonprofit that supports Andrew Bayne Memorial Library in the neighborhood.
Marburger isn’t planning the festival alone — she’s among eight other women working to put the magical event together.
“I probably talk to those women more than I talk to my husband at this point,” she says.
The event features plenty of fun for kids, like a potions class sponsored by the Carnegie Science Center and an owl visit from the National Aviary. But, adults can join in on it too, with wizard-themed trivia, yoga and a scavenger hunt designed with them in mind.
“I’m 30, I grew up reading Harry Potter and I want to go to this event,” she says. “I want to attract more than just 10-year-olds.”
WizardVue also includes a Wizard Rock Festival dedicated to the genre of the same name, with bands like Muggle Snuggle, Stranger Than Steel and The Dementors taking the stage in the center of Bellevue.
The community is also involved in the day’s activities: the Bellevue fire department is hosting a vegan cookout and T&M Hardware is turning their shop into a Chamber of Serpents where people can battle snakes with swords and meet a real serpent.
Marburger wanted to accommodate wizards, warlocks and witches of all abilities for the event, so the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy is setting up a sensory tent for those who need some quiet during the day.
“We really have thought about anyone who would want to come to this event, how we can make it accessible and fun for them. It’s been quite a thorough process,” she says.
Although WizardVue is meant to attract wizard fans to Bellevue to experience the community, Marburger says she’s also trying to reach the people who call the small hamlet north of Pittsburgh their home.
“We wanted people to come out of their houses and re-engage with their neighbors and love where they live,” she says.