September 1, 2018: A Journey Back to School

By Alexis Peralta

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Event

Going back to Hogwarts is always an exciting time, but this year Kings Cross was really a sight to see! I’m amazed the wizarding world didn’t end up in the muggle papers because we were coming in droves all dressed up and ready for the train! Usually students dress in civvies and wait to robe right before arriving at Hogwarts, but today was a special celebration.

For such an occasion, professors from years past were in attendance; including Gilderoy Lockhart, Mad-Eye Moody, and even to most students and staffs disgruntlement, Dolores Umbridge. Of course Dumbledore came to show his support, he even magically seemed to be in different robes throughout the morning, changing as fast as you could spot him. Gryffindors, who always need their ego stroked, had ample support from their Head of House Professor McGonagall and even the Fat Lady was seen strolling through portraits nearby. Rita Skeeter was present, of course, to report on the possible break of The International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy (she let me borrow her Quick-Quotes Quill for this article though!).

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Event

Houses took group pictures before boarding the train, and I have NEVER seen so many students entering Kings Cross at the same time! There were at least 44 Gryffindor, 38 Hufflepuff, 49 Ravenclaw, and 46 Slytherin (plus 2 because of course Logan and I missed the picture off dueling in Diagon Alley-don’t tell Snape). Finally, after class pictures, the floating yellow flag beacon was raised and we all followed it drifting into the station. The muggle attendants were definitely surprised by the group entering all together (looking quite mad I bet), but they smiled, let us scan our ticket, and we passed through.

I love King’s Cross. There is always this beauty in the rush of the travelers, the excitement of the students walking by, the old brick on the wall that’s seen so many wizards and muggles alike rush past. Nearing platform 9 ¾ you could feel the heightened anxiety of first years! It was so funny watching two of them in front of us run head first into the column! Way to not bring attention to yourselves first-years, scoff. Logan and I casually leaned against and fell through effortlessly, emerging on the other side where we truly belong!

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Meetup

It was a spectacular view! Hundreds of students, parents, and professors all in queue for the train. For the event, the trolley lady made a special appearance and was already on the platform offering sweets and treats before the train arrived (I waited until on board to honor tradition and get my favorite, a Pumpkin Pasty!) Eleven O’clock came nearer and we all hurried to our positions to load up. Then we could see it rolling in, the Hogwarts Express, it always takes my breath away. Call me a sap but I always get goosebumps when I see it coming, knowing that it brings the joy of another school year.

We got on the train, found a compartment that only had 4 other people in it (lucky!) and settled in for the ride. Something was truly extra special this year, the camaraderie seemed so genuine and everyone was happy to be returning to their second home: Hogwarts.

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Meetup

By Alexis Peralta

Intrahouse Rivalry?

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express for the 2015-16 School Year!

Another September 1st has come and gone. As you may know, September 1st is the day that young witches and wizards throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland gather at Kings Cross in London to hop on board the Hogwarts Express for the new school year. While many of us are well beyond our Hogwarts years, every year on September 1st we still don our Hogwarts uniforms, gather at Platform 9 3/4s at 11am, sing the school song, and think fondly back to our school days.

Slug Club at Kings Cross

Slug Club members outside of Kings Cross on September 1st, 2015

September 1st is always a magical day. We see old friends again…   Seeing Old Friends Again

And make some new ones…

Lauren and Carla Magical Law Enforcement Squad

Rehash old rivalries…

Intrahouse Rivalry?

And rekindle those old school romances.

Hogwarts Romance

Eventually, we made our way back to Hogwarts for old times’ sakes.

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In the famous words of Albus Dumbledore: “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! […] I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you.”

Now time for the feast!

Cornfundo!

Wait, you’re doing it wrong!

Care of Magical Creatures Lesson (as told from a homework-hating Ravenclaw)

IMG_2135Guest post by Ravenclaw prefect Elizabeth Buckeye

On Sunday March 8th, it was once again that wonderful time for the Slug Club to get together. It was time for a Care of Magical Creatures field trip! Both current and alumni students of Hogwarts and its brother school were invited for the practical lesson. No one is too old to benefit from a reminder in proper creature care.

Read More

December 2014 Meetup Recaps

December was a busy month for the Central Florida Slug Club!

1. Our SPEW team collected over a thousand pairs of socks for the homeless!

2. We went ice skating! (When Florida won’t give us a proper winter, we’ll just create one indoors.)

3. S.P.E.W. made Owl Post for Aurors! Through this program, members created holiday cards for soldiers serving away from their families this winter. Krista mailed them to a soldier she corresponds with regularly, who then distributed the cards to the soldiers in his platoon. There were some very creative and fun cards created! Read More

Book Club Meetup – Chamber of Secrets

Words by Terrea Riggs. Pictures by Terrea Riggs and Alyssa Hancock.

Nothing beats the feeling of being welcomed home. I haven’t been away, I just never get over walking into an event late and being greeted warmly by my wizard friends (and this time the bartender, too!). So even though I had to work at my muggle job at 1am on Tuesday, my trek out to the George and Dragon Pub for book club on Monday night was well worth it. And what better way to set the mood for your meetup at a British pub than for it to rain the entire time you’re there?

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Our book this time was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As much as I enjoy new reads, I am equally excited about our group’s re-read of the series that has brought us all together. There were lots of thoughtful questions and plenty of debate (at least from this table).

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As if somehow sensing which book we were discussing this month, my wand broke in half at the meetup, doing its best imitation of Ron Weasley’s during the crash into the Whomping Willow! I hope that Ollivander can repair it next time I am in Diagon Alley.

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Slytherin house was not as well represented in attendance as I had hoped, but Alyssa and I made up for it by wearing our robes and best better-than-you expressions. Where did all these Gryffindors and Ravenclaws come from, anyway?!

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At one point in the night I had truly questioned whether I was in Orlando or not. The rain pelted down the entire time we were at the pub and I even started hearing more British accents than normal. Had I unknowingly apparated to London?

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Perhaps not.

We then broke into smaller groups to compete in trivia from the book for extra house points! While they all did their best at trying, Alyssa and I were the most ambitious and secured the SlytherWIN for the night.

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After that we celebrated with drinks, even inviting Dobby to join us.

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Once again it was a fun night and I can’t wait to do it all again in November with a new book!

Slug Club Book Club 7/21/2014

On the night of July 21st, many witches and wizards gathered at their local pub, The George and Dragon, to discuss a novel that they had read together….or more importantly in many cases, did not read together. All former houses had representatives at this gathering and only 4 had read The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Those four souls were at a table together to discuss the book and pose questions in regards to it. However, the rest of those fine patrons, this author included, spent the night indulging in the local inebriating beverages, telling stories of years past. All of this was done of course while putting together a rather intriguing game that most of them would play together eleven days later at one of the largest gathering of witches and wizards in the United States, but that will be a time for another post.

However, before the groups broke off many of us told tales of where we were seven years prior, to when the final novel of the series that brought us all together, was brought to shelves. I myself was in a full Luna Lovegood costume at my local Books-A-Million for the midnight release party. I had made earrings out of real radishes, and taken over 20 Sobe drink caps, painted them black and then put gold BB’s on their lids to create my vision of her “Butterbeer cap necklace” as we had yet to see the beautiful Evanna Lynch take the screen as my favorite Ravenclaw. Others had to wait until the next morning to acquire the book, and some, like me, had been at their local release parties. One even had yet to get into the series at that point, yet this fandom which we all call home is so large and welcoming that it matters little as to when you join it, one shall always be welcomed.

Back at our local pub, many of the witches and wizards in attendance seemed to prefer the British imported beverages, while a select few preferred more home based liquid courage. We became a fine oiled machine of paper, scissors, glue, pens and temporary tattoos. The night was filled with fried foods, and a lively discussion focused around a certain Boy Wizard and the world he introduced to us all. Tales of visits to Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade along with their most recent trips on the Hogwarts Express left the lips of many in attendance while a local Gryffindor became the procurer of many pieces of memorabilia for those who had not made it to the most recent Grand Opening. Plans were finalized for the gathering in less than two weeks at the large convention and it was only a few short hours that kept our gathering together. While many of us did not actually read the book, getting together with our fellow housemates, former students, friends, was what mattered to us, it was what mattered to me.

I’m always happiest on nights I get to spend with the Central Florida Slug Club, and I cannot wait to join them all at Leaky Con 2014 in less than a week. They are my Potter people, my Potter family, my friends.

Slug Club Cookout!

Article by Justin Landers of Gryffindor
Photos by Terrea Riggs of Slytherin

Summer time. The temperatures are rising. The sun is out, the water is nice, and the vacation time is plentiful. So, how do you spend that time? With those who you enjoy the company of and care about of course! What better place to spend time together than a beautiful park?

That is exactly what we did on Sunday, July 13th. A group of friends, about 20 people in total, gathered at Bill Frederick Park for good food, games and fun. There was BBQ, Kabobs, cookies, cupcakes, drinks, and games. Plenty of laughs, and stories circulated about the new Diagon Alley area. Ridiculous times with “Cards against Humanity” were involved, and plenty of smiles, all while overlooking a beautiful lake!

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Post-picnic a small group headed to Universal to continue to marvel in amazement at the new Diagon Alley area, and ride the new Escape from Gringotts ride.

Overall it was a phenomenal day with amazing people. All four houses were represented well, The weather could not have been better, and the company was fantastic. Special thanks to Micky Christmas Lee and Stephanie Shive for hosting and putting together the BBQ!

A Book and a Pub!

20140531_204125[1]It was the perfect evening for a magical gathering.  The day: the 31st of May. The time: 1900 hours. The venue: the Orlando George and Dragon Pub. The book: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or the Philosopher’s) Stone”. Witches began to apparate from different directions; among them, two wizards! We crossed the portal in between two telephone boxes placed at the walkway to the
pub and joined the rest of the invitees in an area outside the pub, where we could be, more or less, far away from Muggles. Five new witches joined the group, which we warmly welcomed.

Then, our formal event started with a game of guessing the character.  We were all given 20140531_204137[1]
a name of a person (or ghost) from the book and we were to ask up to three indirect questions that could help us guess which name we were given. It was a very good ice breaker, since there were several new faces.  Afterwards, surrounded by beverages and appetizers, we began the discussion of the book following a list of related questions.  It was an amazing time of exchanging thoughts about various events in the book.  20140531_213616[1]This, while, unsuccessfully, trying to convince Matt (or Liam, your choice!) to sing karaoke for us and the Muggle audience inside the pub.  After some more drinks and conversation, we got to our trivia questions! Some of the answers were quite creative, which got the person some points, even if the answer was incorrect.  First, second and third place got the chance of picking a magical price from the Crate of Wonders (as I decided to call it). The witches were delighted with their choices.  We continued throughout the evening in lively conversation, getting to know each other, sharing experiences20140531_214255[1] (and songs) while, again, trying to convince Matt to sing for us as well as others that would like to participate in the karaoke night. That, for house points, but nobody dared. We let that part of the entertainment to the Muggles, which continued with their intense butchering of famous songs happening inside the pub, totally oblivious of our presence.  I wonder if the original artists, should they were magical, would
have the thought of performing the Cruciatus curse on them upon hearing them sing.  But that’s another story!

20140531_214305[1]All in all, it was a fantastic evening full of laughter, stories and vivacious conversations!
Never a dull moment or a quiet event in the Wizarding world! I, and I’m sure others as well, are looking forward to our next meetup.

Until next time…EVANESCO!