Only a few years after cementing its place as a local mainstay, fans of magic and myth will no longer be able to gather in the Ithaca Commons to celebrate Wizarding Weekend. According to a statement published on the Ithaca Wizarding Weekend website by event producer Darlynne Overbaugh, Wizarding Weekend “will not be held in 2020 or beyond.”
The event, traditionally held annually in late October since 2015, regularly featured several magic-themed events, including a Potions Crawl, a FanArt Show and Mystic Arts Ball.
In its first year, the event was planned for an audience of 500 families, according to a previous Sun article. “But it went viral. Eight thousand people turned up,” Overbaugh previously told The Sun.
In 2018, the event began facing legal issues with Warner Bros. over copyright issues involving the alleged use of Harry Potter related names. The Sun previously reported that Warner Bros. sent Overbaugh a cease and desist letter. According to the Ithaca Journal, the festival was prohibited from using any names, places or objects related to the series.
As a result of these issues, the official name of the festival changed from “Wizarding Weekend” to “The GorgeKeep School of Magic” last year in a bid to placate the entertainment giant, according to the Ithaca Voice.
Overbaugh cited “corporate greed, financial and organizational obstacles, and a steady decline of support from key local community members, organizations, and agencies” as reasons for her decision to discontinue the event in an online statement.
However, her statement also explains that “2020 will serve as an opportunity to evaluate and create a socially, ecologically and financially sustainable way forward for The GorgeKeep School of Magic and the new GorgeKeep Festival that will be hosted in 2021 in Ithaca, NY.”