So you want to attend a Harry Potter convention but the costs just sound outrageous. “How do people do this yearly?” you might ask. The answer is simple: budgeting. While the costs may not be much for some attendees, many are creating budgets months or even years ahead of time in order to attend conventions.
A couple of weeks ago we delivered the books we collected this year, thus completing our second year participating in The Harry Potter Alliance‘s Accio Books campaign. Last year, we collected over 300 books and were so proud. It was our first year doing it plus we started with less than half of the campaign left. We expected maybe 100 books.
This year, Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. group was a little more ambitious. When the HPA asked us to set a collection goal, we went for 1,500 books – almost five times what we collected in the previous year. Our team went all out, setting up book collection boxes at their jobs and in local libraries, pestered their friends and family, and partnered with other local groups such as Orlando Nerd Nite and Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic. (It really helped that the organization we were working with was one that many of our members were passionate about helping: Impower FL, a mental health and child well-being organization that serves five counties in Central Florida.) Our total this year?
Our minds were boggled. We couldn’t believe how well S.P.E.W. and the rest of the Central Florida Slug Club came together to not just hit our goal, but to double it.
Facts about this year’s Accio Books:
- Over 1,000 of the books were collected/brought to our storage volunteers in the last 48 hours of the collection drive, most of them arriving during the closing pizza party/book club meetup. (aka we have a club of world class procrastinators here.)
- We came in fifth place in the world in the Harry Potter Alliance’s Chapters Cup.
- Slug Club Hufflepuffs collected the most books this year, with Bryanna Plantier, Jessica Griner, and Rafael Ufret going all out in their collection efforts.
- It was 91 degrees outside when S.P.E.W. members delivered the books to Impower’s Kissimmee office.
- It took five cars to deliver all of the books to our final location.
- Impower expected us to bring them “a few boxes of books,” maybe enough to provide books for two of the locations. Instead, we brought enough to cover all five locations and to add a book for each child into the backpacks they are making up for their current Back to School drive.
Thank you to everyone that helped with this year’s campaign!
by Megan Stump
Several years ago there was a rumor that more Harry Potter was coming to Universal Studios Florida. I had fallen in love with Hogsmeade immediately after seeing the tip of Hogwarts from across the lagoon in IoA, so needless to say, I was very excited. We learned about some fun details at the Harry Potter Celebration. Finally June 9, 2014 the construction walls came down. Continue reading
“So you want to attend a Harry Potter convention?” is our new series to help out first-time Harry Potter convention attendees. We will break down each individual con, provide tips on how to budget, how to prepare, and how to make it a successful con experience.
You’ve been a fan of the books for years and have always been jealous of the pictures floating around the internet of everyone with their amazing con experiences. Or maybe you’re a new fan that missed all of the excitement of midnight book releases and movie premieres. Whatever your reasons, it is time for you to attend your first Harry Potter convention. What next?
Part 1 – Choosing Your Convention
First, pick which convention you prefer to attend. Each convention has a unique style and pros and cons. Your friend may enjoy one con that you hated, while you adored another con that your friend found mediocre. That is totally okay. Each experience is different and valid. As you go through the list, really think about what YOU are looking for in your first con experience. Continue reading
We have a number of fun meetups coming up soon! Want to be one of the first to know about any upcoming meetups? Join our Facebook or Meetup.com groups! (You’ll need to be a member in order to RSVP to any of the events listed below.)
May 4th – Second Annual Battle of Hogwarts Laser Tag – RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
“It’s time to choose your side and either fight to protect Hogwarts, Harry Potter, and the future of the wizarding world as you know it, or fight to rid the wizarding world of the mudbloods and blood traitors who only serve as a disgrace to our community. You-Know-Who and his followers will storm the castle on May 4th in an event that will forever be known as “The Battle of Hogwarts.””
May 5th – S.P.E.W. Meeting – RSVP on Facebook
Interested in community service and activism? Join our S.P.E.W. group, a Harry Potter Alliance chapter! We’ll talk about our current Accio Books campaign, plan for Esther Day, and more! Make sure to join our S.P.E.W group here.
May 24th – Group Photo at MISTI-con – RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
For those of us attending MISTI-con in May, let’s meet up at the ball just after it begins to get a group picture! (If you’re unfamiliar with MISTI-con – it’s an amazing Harry Potter conference taking place over Memorial Day weekend this year. You can get more information at http://www.misti-con.org/)
May 30th – May Book Club: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
For book club meeting we will be reading the fourth book in the Harry Potter series: The Goblet of Fire. Join us at the George & Dragon for book discussion and trivia! This is the last day to turn in all the books you collected for Accio Books. Be sure to get them to us today or you are stuck with them for another year!!
June 6th – Abracadabra Ice Cream – RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
“Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory is one of the hottest new liquid nitrogen ice cream concepts in the country. They use liquid nitrogen to freeze your very own ice cream creation within seconds. With temperatures reaching -328 degrees below 0 they are able to flash freeze the ice cream right before your eyes. Every witch and wizard loves the quick little magic show as “Magic Clouds” flow across the counter top creating an exciting experience for everyone, including the most curmudgeonly Potions professor. Come and create your own flavor of ice cream or try one of Abracadabra’s suggestions. You are welcome to bring any (and I mean ANY) ingredients to put in your own concoction! (Slughorn’s favorite is pineapple.)” **Rescheduled from May 16th**
June 12th – Harry Potter Game Night – RSVPs are CLOSED but you can join the waiting list on Facebook!
Join us at Liam Mason’s apartment for a great big Potter bash. Liam will be providing HP Scene it, HP Clue, and Quidditch Beer Pong . The HoH’s will bring Cards Against Muggles! Feel free to bring another HP themed game if you have one.
September 1st – Train Ride to Hogwarts – RSVP on Facebook (Open to the Public!) or on Meetup.com
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment that you can purchase in Diagon Alley prior to your departure.
Term begins on September 1. Please arrive at King’s Cross station at 10:00am* to cross through Platform 9 3/4 and board the Hogwarts Express at 11:00am.
Join the Central Florida Slug Club as we travel from King’s Cross station to Hogsmeade for the start of term. School uniform is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Once off the train we will head to Hogwarts to get a class photo. We will follow up with lunch at the Three Broomsticks.
December 5th – Portkey to Magic’s Yule Ball – RSVP on Facebook
Join us as we venture to St. Petersburg, Florida and invade our sister group’s Yule Ball. Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic has worked out a hotel discount for us; check the Facebook event for details. Ball tickets need to be purchased in advance – only 100 tickets will be sold!
Want to donate some books for our 2015 Accio Books program? We have donation boxes at the following locations:
Winter Park Public Library
460 E New England Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-Th 9AM-9PM, Sat 9AM-5PM, Sun 1-5PM
Regus Winter Park
941 W Morse Blvd, Suite 100
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-F 830AM-500PM
Leesburg Public Library
100 E Main Street
Leesburg, FL 34748
Hours: M-Th 9AM-8PM, Sat 9AM-5PM
First Baptist Church of Highland City
5410 Yarborough Lane
Lakeland, FL 33813
Hours: 7AM-6PM (Ring Bell)
More locations coming soon! Keep an eye on our blog here or our S.P.E.W. Facebook page for more information. The Central Florida Slug Club’s Accio Books 2015 Donation Drive goes from April 1st through May 30th.
You can also bring your books to any Central Florida Slug Club meetup in April and May, as well as meetups for “Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic”, an adult Harry Potter club in the Tampa area, and Nerd Nite Orlando.
All donations will go to Impower, a non-profit mental health and child well-being organization in Central Florida.