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Harry Potter Festival in Philadelphia, PA

The Harry Potter Festival transforms Chestnut Hill into a magical world on Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18. (Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Business Association)

The Harry Potter Festival transforms Chestnut Hill into a magical world on Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18. (Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Business Association)

Mid Atlantic Harry Potter fans don’t need to travel to Orlando, Florida or England to get their Harry Potter fix. On October 17-18, the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA will play host to a weekend’s worth of spellbinding events at the Harry Potter Festival , where there will be wizardry and wonder in the air.

Enjoy an enchanting weekend of wizards, potions, spells, scavenger hunts, falconry, wizard chess, parades and more.

The popular event features familiar characters from the world of Harry Potter, special activities for fans of all ages, live entertainment, food and more. Hunt for Horcruxes, watch local colleges face-off at a Quidditch tournament and more during the magical weekend celebration.

The 4th Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Quidditch Tournament is one of the highlights of the annual Harry Potter Festival Weekend in Chestnut Hill. (Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill College)

The 4th Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Quidditch Tournament is one of the highlights of the annual Harry Potter Festival Weekend in Chestnut Hill. (Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill College)

Beyond flavors from the world of Harry Potter, Chestnut Hill neighborhood businesses and shops on and around Germantown Avenue also transform into familiar locales from Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade like Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheeezes and many more.

On Friday, the weekend begins with the official Harry Potter Conference with presentations that are free and open to the public from 3 to 5 p.m.

After the literary events, starting at 7 p.m., pop in and out of pubs on a Chestnut Hill Pub Crawl.

Tickets for the pub crawl go on sale Wednesday, October 1; scoop up passes quickly since the crawl has sold out in past years.

Harry Potter Festival Schedule

Friday, October 17

Harry Potter Conference at Chestnut Hill College

The Pub Crawl begins at 7:00 p.m. and is a ticketed event. Tickets go on sale October 1st.

The Bales of Cornwall Hay Maze at Woodmere Art Museum

Film Showing: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone at Teenagers. Inc. Center

Saturday, October 18

Harry Potter Festival & Quidditch Tournament

The Quidditch Tournament begins at 10 a.m. at Chestnut Hill College

9:45 a.m.-Opening Ceremony: Chestnut Hill West Septa Station with The Hogwarts Express
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•The “Hunt for the Horcrux” activity

•The Bales of Cornwall Hay Maze at Woodmere Art Museum
Scarecrow Walk at Morris Arboretum

•Complimentary Knight Bus Trolley transports Wizards and Muggles all over town

•Defense Against the Dark Arts classes

•Sorting Hat Demonstration

•Hedwig’s Hollow Selfie Park at Buckley Park

•fortune tellers
•face painters
•games and activities
•specialty food, drink and retail promotions
•Musicians, *Photo Booth*

Be sure to check out Harry Potters Guide to Philadelphia

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Terror Behind the Walls at PA’s Eastern State Penitentiary

Friday, September 19, 2014 – 7:00pm – Saturday, November 8, 2014 – 7:00pm
Sponsor LUKOIL providing discount coupons!

Terror Behind the Walls is located inside the massive castle-like walls of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA. Now in its 22nd year, Terror Behind the Walls is consistently ranked among the top haunted attractions in the country. Check out their preview page to get a sneak peek of the action.

Their FAQ page provides lots of tips and info for first timers. They promise to do their “absolute best to terrify you and your friends. Just imagine being inside an 11-acre abandoned prison at night. Their goal is to make you scared. Really scared. And yes, it’s possible that someone (or something?) might be lurking inside one of those empty, dark cells you keep walking past….”

Additionally, “when you enter Terror Behind the Walls, you will be confronted with a critical decision: should you explore the prison and watch the action, or should you mark yourself to truly interact with the denizens of the cellblocks? Those who opt in for true interactivity may be grabbed, held back, sent into hidden passageways, removed from their group, and even occasionally incorporated into the show. They will deal with the consequences of their decision through six long attractions.”

If that isn’t scary enough, you can upgrade to a VIP status. The After Dark VIP Tour begins with an hour-long, guided flashlight walking tour of the penitentiary. You’ll hear about riots, escapes, and other scandalous incidents throughout Eastern State’s history. Highlights may include the cellblocks, Al Capone’s cell, the dining halls, and the Operating Room.

Following the tour, you will be escorted to the front of the Terror Behind the Walls lines and experience all six haunted attractions. Remember your evening with a souvenir photo of your group and a Terror Behind the Walls LED flashlight (included in ticket price).

Don’t forget that buying online is ALWAYS the cheapest and most convenient way to purchase Terror Behind the Walls tickets, guaranteed. You’ll save time and money, and purchasing in advance is the only way to guarantee entry to the event.

Best of all, discount coupons are available courtesy of Terror Behind the Walls sponsor LUKOIL. Visit any Pennsylvania or New Jersey LUKOIL location for a $5 off coupon. Coupons available while supplies last. Cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions.

Terror Behind the Walls
Eastern State Penitentiary
22nd & Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 236-3300

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Tastykake Celebrates 100 Delicious Years

Image Courtesy of Tastykake

Image Courtesy of Tastykake

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to visit the Mid-Atlantic Region and not come across a Tastykake product. They are ubiquitous, filling the shelves of grocery stores, quick-stop shops, and Mom & Pop retailers. Although no longer an independent company, Flowers Food Inc. rescued the brand in 2011 and still provides fans with their fave sweet treat fix.

I have always liked their Cream Filled Buttercream Cupcakes, but my Mother maintains an undying passion for Krimpets. And to make my Mom happy, I’m sharing the Tastykake recipe for Butterscotch Krimpet Tiramisu as the Dessert of the Day.

Image and Recipe Courtesy of Tastykake

Image and Recipe Courtesy of Tastykake

Butterscotch Krimpet Tiramisu
•14 packs Krimpets®
•3/4 qt. cream
•1 1/4 lb. mascarpone cheese
•1 c. espresso (or strongly brewed coffee)
•2 c. stout beer (we use Victory Donny Brook Stout)
•3/4 c. sugar
•1/4 c. coco powder
1. Whip cream, add 1/2 c. sugar and fold in mascarpone.
2. Cut krimpets in half long way.
3. Combine espresso, stout and 1/4 c. of sugar.
4. Dip Krimpets® in liquid mixture. Layer on bottom of 13″ by 9″ pan.
5. Layer half of whipped cream and mascarpone on top of Krimpets®.

In honor of the Anniversary, Tastykake trucks are delivering a new product—the Tastykake Birthday Cupcake. The company also is sponsor a SINGFORAKAKE contest. The winner will receive $1,000, and three runner ups get a year’s worth of Tastykakes.

What’s your favorite Tastykake?

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Breakfast with the Arts

Soft jazz accompanies the murmur of quiet conversation in the Museum Restaurant, located in the prestigious Philadelphia Museum of Art. At Winterthur, guests appreciate sweeping vistas of the world famous gardens, while equally pleasing views of the buffet tempt their palate. Weekday noshers can enjoy the beauty of nature enhanced by sculpture at the Thronson Café, at the Delaware Museum of Art.

Three different museums offer decidedly different atmospheres, and an exciting array of breakfast and brunch options in which to nourish the mind, body and soul.

The statue of Rocky Balboa in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Wikipedia: Luigi Novi

The statue of Rocky Balboa in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Wikipedia: Luigi Novi   

Fine Music, Art and Food 

Bright, calming and airy, Granite Hill is the museum’s pinnacle eatery. Here, you’ll find an approachable French bistro menu filled with seasonal appetizers, entrée salads, omelets, and the freshest fish, as well as specialty cocktails and wines. The classic yet comfortable atmosphere encourages diners to relax and savor the seasonal offerings selected to appeal to all of the senses.

Sunday Brunch is available from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art provide an equally tasteful way to start the week with a contemplation and mediation of the arts. The Medieval and Asian Art Galleries make particularly appealing oases of contemplation in the bustling city.  Grand architectural spaces, including a Medieval cloister from the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines and a portal from the Abbey Church of Saint-Laurent in France, provide the setting for individual works of art including illuminated manuscripts; sculptures and reliquaries; stained glass

This opportunity for introspection can also be found in the adjacent Asian collection, with its unique example of Indian stonework. The 16th-century shrine devoted to the Hindu God Vishnu provides a chance to experience the serenity of the elaborate carvings. The symbolism of these carvings (for example the use of the lotus flowers, an enduring symbol of rebirth) would have been understood by worshipers in a largely illiterate society.

The elaborate Indian shrine contrasts dramatically with the ascetic beauty of the Buddhist shrine, where tea often played an important component to worship.

When visiting the Philadelphia Museum, be sure to pick up a copy of “Today at the Museum” for a schedule of the day’s programs and tours.

Granite Hill Restaurant

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street

Philadelphia, PA

(215) 763-8100

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2008, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.