To avoid copyright infringement Roanoke's Harry Potter Festival is now 'Generic Magic Festival'

New group leading the efforts for the October event

By Lezla Gooden - Reporter, Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager

ROANOKE, VA - The popularity of the Harry Potter series has led to various festivals across the nation. A copyright crackdown by Warner Brothers is putting a dark spell over these local events.

In Philadelphia, a Harry Potter Festival that drew in 50,000 fans has been canceled. 

Although much smaller, even Roanoke' Harry Potter Festival has now changed its name.

New names, new features, larger spaces and more magical stories can be expected to appear in this year’s Generic Magic Festival-- once known as the Harry Potter Festival.

"We are still celebrating literary magic and a lot of the creatures and potions Rowling uses are ones from mythology that have been used for years,” said Tracy Fisher, Roanoke minister of magic for the Generic Magic Festival. 

Despite the change, there will be similar but not identical features to the Wizarding World of the boy who lived.

Butterbeer will still be flowing and you can expect wizards and witches to be armed with wands.

Craig Slomczewski, creator of the magical objects and that you’ll see around the festival, tells 10 news that the copyright infringement limitations made this year's event a challenge to design. 

“It seemed like an impossible task because you are used to what you see in the movies and it makes you think out of the box that much more,” Slomczewski said.

This year, unlike the past, the festival is free to all and will include more than 35 magical vendors.

For those with extra gold in their pockets, wrist bands can be bought to attend various lectures and activities.

“We are having restaurants transform to magical venues and we wanted that to be available to everyone but our classes that will have guest professors or supplies that will cost (admission). There are now $12 wristbands available now and $15 at the door,” Fisher said.

While the festival continues to grow, those in charge want to remind muggles that this year is different and is like a phoenix being reborn from the ashes.

“When financial issues started showing up at the last minute for last year’s festival, that person was immediately removed from the committee. This year we are a community nonprofit group and we are set up through a board so everything now is on the up-and-up,” Slomczewski said.

Downtown Roanoke will be transfigured Oct.6 beginning at 11 a.m. For more on what to expect and how to buy wristbands, head over to this link.

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