Festival of Wizardry to take over Blyth - Oct. 5, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
Significant parts of Blyth will be transformed next weekend for the Festival of Wizardry, a large event focused on fictional magical realms and characters set to bring over 9,000 people to the village.
The event, which runs Oct. 14 and 15, will primarily take place at the Blyth Campground and surrounding facilities, however some streets will be closed to accommodate parking and local businesses are encouraged by organizers, Transfigured Town Inc., to participate in the action.
Residents in Blyth should expect to see some of their local stores getting into the spirit of the event, with the Blyth Business Improvement Area (BIA) encouraging its members to take part.
“The BIA has members decorating for the weekend including the Queens Bakery, Part II Bistro and Stitches with a Twist ready to be involved,” Transfigured Town Chief Administrative Officer Nathan Swartz said.
Blyth’s downtown will also be the setting of two scavenger hunts set to take place in main street businesses and facilities.
“We have the ‘Fantastic Clues and Where to Find Them’ scavenger hunt set up for downtown which is a little more children and family-friendly,” Swartz said. “People who finish it will receive a certificate.
“Tom’s Riddles is a more difficult scavenger hunt and challenges people to find all the horcruxes downtown,” Swartz said. “They have to solve riddles and whoever completes it gets entered into a draw to win the horcruxes, which are replica props from the Harry Potter universe.”
Memorial Hall is also featured during the event, as it will be the “Borealis School” where festival-goers can take part in wizardry classes during the two-day event.
Traffic will be heavy throughout the village on Saturday and Gypsy Lane will be closed throughout the event as will Wellington and King Street west of Queen Street.
Swartz said that anyone living on those streets should have received placards for their vehicle that will allow them to get past the barriers. If residents in the area haven’t, he encourages them to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blyth residents will also likely see signs going up in the near future to help direct visitors to the event.
The event will also attract eight national media outlets, including two television stations sending their own specialized program hosts down.
The Canadian specialty channel Space, which focuses on fantasy and science fiction, will be sending Morgan Hoffman from its show Innerspace.
Children’s channel YTV will also be sending hosts from its program The Zone.
Swartz explained that the festival will also serve as the perfect venue for the announcement of next year’s Festival of Wizardry ticket sales date.
“We know a lot of people are wondering when the tickets will go on sale, and we’ll be revealing that at this year’s festival,” Swartz said. “For those that can’t attend but want to keep up to date on the information, we suggest they visit transfiguredtown.com and subscribe to our mailing list.”
Volunteers are still being sought for the event according to organizer Sally Litchfield.
Anyone who gives time to the event receives entry into the festival as well as a t-shirt.
For more information,
contact Litchfield at
The Festival of Wizardry consists of two identical days of programming on Saturday and Sunday, allowing one-day visitors to take everything in and allowing two-day visitors to take part in programming they may have missed on their first visit.
Both Saturday and Sunday will feature ‘wizard rock’ music including Harry Potter-themed musical acts The Lovegoods, Tonks and the Aurors and Draco and the Malfoys. Saturday, Girl Power will also take the stage. Live entertainment is on stage at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. on Sunday.
The Blyth Community Centre will feature ‘Nick’s Deathday’, a special on-ice attraction that will serve beverages and feature ghostly figure skaters and actors.
“Defense Against the Dark Arts” classes will be hosted hourly in a special children’s area at the grounds starting at noon and running until 4 p.m.
Quidditch, a game made popular in the Harry Potter universe, will run on the grounds from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Special sections of the campground will host wizard games including yoga, book readings, big chess and board games as well as a special selfie area including actors, props and sets.
Blyth Memorial Hall, renamed Borealis School for Wizardry, will play host to special skits throughout the day every 45 minutes starting at 9:30 a.m. with the last show starting at 3:30 p.m.
Vendors will be on the grounds at the Hallow Emporium throughout both days selling special goods.
For a full list of events or more information, visit Transfigured Town’s website.
Those visiting the event will have several parking options available to them, be they volunteers, vendors or festival-goers.
A shuttle is available from Goderich for those with tickets who are staying in the town, the original site for the event.
Shuttle parking is available at the Walton Raceway at 42932 Walton Road for $5 per day which includes a shuttle to and from the grounds. Volunteers will be on site for added security, however, according to its release, Transfigured Town is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Accessible parking is available at the community centre on the grounds at 377 Gypsy Lane as well as non-wheelchair accessible parking at the shuttle parking area in Walton.
Finally, free parking is available through the village of Blyth where normally available, however the organizers urge visitors to be aware of the parking rules.
Specifically, parking will not be tolerated on county roads approaching the village (Blyth or London Roads). According to the organizers, bylaw enforcement officers will be on hand to make sure the rules are followed.