At the recent Celebration of Harry Potter gathering held at Universal Studios Orlando, fans from around the world let their house colors fly. No Potter gathering would be complete without wands, but self-respecting fans like this aspiring Quidditch player also ensure that their robes include specially sewn wand pockets. Bonus points to Gryffindor for strong hippogriff riding skills.
A "Muggle Wall" at the Celebration asked fans to share what Harry means to them. The messages were overwhelmingly heartfelt: "Saved my life during the worst time;" "Gave me hope and a reason to believe in something different from our mean Muggle world;" "Lets me be myself without being judged." And even a shout-out for Hogwarts' most unsung house: "Go Hufflepuffs!"
Although a sign at the Celebration of Harry Potter event warned against "masks, veils, long trains, live animals, swords or weaponry" – and cautioned that "home-crafted wands must be rounded on either end" – cosplay was encouraged, and fans like Cassidy Fontana (right, as Luna Lovegood) and Valery Lanotti (left, in Gryffindor robes) showed off their homemade Wizarding World threads. "I love the magical aspect and the community aspect," Fontana, who traveled from Chicago, said of attending Potter gatherings.
Series author J.K. Rowling has said that "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home," and for several of the films' stars, "home" is often at Potter conventions around the world. Evanna Lynch (Luna) and twins James (right) and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) attended the Celebration and mingled with fans. "These days, most of our fans are not necessarily with Mum and Dad, they're with their pals," says Oliver. "It's cool." Lynch noted that her favorite locale for Potter fandom is "Japan. We went when they built a Wizarding World in Tokyo. The were all speaking Japanese but walking around in Hogwarts robes. I loved it."
Hot, cold, iced or ice cream, there is only one beverage of choice at any Pottercon. Pair it with sticky toffee pudding and you've conjured enough sugar to stock Honeydukes. "I'm going to make myself sick on this stuff," said Aria Justice, who traveled to the Celebration from Enid, Oklahoma, with her grandma. Butterbeer hangover? We approve.