ADAMS — Last summer, J. K. Rowling announced Mount Greylock as the site of her fictitious North American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. On June 18, ProAdams is hosting a convention to appreciate Rowling's choice: the Mischievous Appreciation of Greylock & Ilvermorny Convention or M.A.G.I. Con.
"J.K. Rowling has created eight schools of witchcraft and wizardry," said Amanda Zepka, co-chairwoman of the convention. "But only two of them were named as being in a specific place: Mahoutokoro atop an uninhabited volcanic island near Japan, and Ilvermorny at the summit of Mount Greylock in Adams. For the serious fans of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world, M.A.G.I.Con is as close as they can get."
The convention will feature Quidditch, a costume contest, a geocaching demonstration by Berkshire GeoBash, opportunities to hike, and live performances by Celtic group the Rakish Paddy and Potter-inspired group Harry and the Potters. Refreshments will be served by Bright Ideas Brewery, with food services being provided by local vendors. The event is not affiliated with Rowling or Pottermore.com.
"The people involved in the planning are not only loyal fans of Harry Potter, but are also dedicated to making more people aware of the magic and beauty of Mount Greylock and Northern Berkshire County," said Theresa Dudziak of Magical Greylock, Adams's unofficial Ilvermorny committee. "Personally, I am hoping that this event will draw people to this beautiful part of Massachusetts, and will also provide local residents with a new and exciting event to enjoy."
Though ProAdams is hosting the event at the Greylock Glen, much of the event planning was done by Magical Greylock, which saw the potential of what a convention could bring to the county in terms of tourism. ProAdams is a nonprofit organization.
"M.A.G.I.Con started as an idea to create a fan event that would bring a people together to celebrate the magical world of Harry Potter and Ilvermorny," Zepka said. "As we brainstormed many great options to accomplish this, we realized we could combine a lot of our ideas into one all-encompassing event — thus resulting in a convention."
According to Zepka, the event was purposefully planned a day after the Berkshire Mountain Faerie Festival, which will also be held in Adams. Zepka and her colleagues hope that this will bring weekend-long traffic into the town.
"The events make for a two-day celebration of magic and fantasy, so we think a number of people might come to the area for the entire weekend. In particular, area inns and restaurants should see an increase in traffic, as well as museums and recreational businesses," she said. "In regards to long-term opportunities, I think the sky is the limit. As the convention grows and is more successful, it will only encourage businesses and other community organizations to get involved to expand the magical experience in Adams."
And ProAdams and Magical Greylock are aiming for the sky.
"We're hoping M.A.G.I.Con will be the catalyst for many more Harry Potter/Ilvermorny-themed events and investments in the community," said Adams Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco, who also is a member of Magical Greylock. "The Harry Potter franchise is a billion dollar franchise with worldwide appeal, and now we have a piece of that. With several more `Fantastic Beasts' movies coming out we are hoping that Ilvermorny will factor prominently in them in one fashion or another. Communities throughout the country and the world that have popular sites from movies end up getting huge numbers of visitors. I myself visited Astoria, Ore. a few years ago where "The Goonies" was filmed just to see some sites from the film. We're hoping something similar happens here over time."