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Harry Potter-themed festival turns Sharpsburg into Hogsmeade for a day

| Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, 11:21 a.m.
Adalene Millet, 2, of Shaler, picks her perfect pumpkin to paint at Sharpsmeade's pumpkin patch on Oct. 21.
Christine Manganas | For the Tribune-Review
Adalene Millet, 2, of Shaler, picks her perfect pumpkin to paint at Sharpsmeade's pumpkin patch on Oct. 21.
Martin Ahr, 7, from Ben Avon holds a snake at Sharpsmeade Oct. 21.
Christine Manganas | For the Tribune-Review
Martin Ahr, 7, from Ben Avon holds a snake at Sharpsmeade Oct. 21.
Owner of Sugar Spell Scoops ice cream pop-up, Amanda Burk, dishes out ice cream to Harry Potter fans and guests of Sharpsmeade on Oct. 21.
Christine Manganas | For the Tribune-Review
Owner of Sugar Spell Scoops ice cream pop-up, Amanda Burk, dishes out ice cream to Harry Potter fans and guests of Sharpsmeade on Oct. 21.
Sharpsburg transformed into the Harry Potter-style village of Sharpsmeade on Oct. 21, with wands, wizards and pets of all kinds. Hundreds attended the first-time event.
Christine Manganas | For the Tribune-Review
Sharpsburg transformed into the Harry Potter-style village of Sharpsmeade on Oct. 21, with wands, wizards and pets of all kinds. Hundreds attended the first-time event.

Wands, wizards, spells and everything Hogwarts crowded Kennedy Park in Sharpsburg recently for the community's first “Harry Potter”-themed fall festival.

Sharpsburg was renamed Sharpsmeade to mirror Harry Potter's town of Hogsmeade for the day. For costumed fans of the movie series, like Martin Ahr, 7, accompanied by his father, Martin, of Ben Avon, the day was a dream come true.

“He loves all things ‘Harry Potter,' ” said Martin's dad.

Organized by Springdale High School student Rachel Halapchuck in collaboration with the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization, more than 2,500 from all around Pittsburgh attended the colorful event to raise money for the nonprofit Beverly's Birthdays.

Halapchuck, 16, has been raising funds for the organization since she was in eighth grade. The group offers birthday parties to underprivileged kids. Proceeds from the fall festival on Oct. 21 were $1,500. The Magical Sharpsburg Fall Festival received some funding from the borough.

“We went to a couple of towns for this event and Sharpsburg was the first to get back to us. They were really excited about the idea,” Halapchuck said. “I don't think we would have gotten this much help from anyone else.”

The event featured horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, face painting, vendors, 1,000 donated pumpkins and an array of “Harry Potter”-themed activities and booths.

“I never expected it to get this big,” Halapchuck said. “The day before the festival we checked on Facebook and there were 1,400 people saying they were coming.”

Tammy Dennis and her daughter, Elizabeth, of West Mifflin heard about it on social media.

“It just kept showing up on my newsfeed, so I thought that we definitely needed to make the trip and check it out,” Dennis said. “So far, we haven't been disappointed.”

Christine Manganas is a freelance writer.

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