Beginning Thursday, the first annual community festival will see many of the town's shops, restaurants, and attractions transformed into magical venues—wand shops, potion distilleries, and feast halls in which discounts may be offered to visitors in costume.
Tabitha Stover of the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau said the idea had been brewing for some time, but the ingredients had only come together over the winter.
"Fayetteville is a magical place, so this kind of event seemed perfect, and it's such a good family-oriented venue," Stover said.
Surrounded by national park, Fayetteville hosts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts annually—hikers, bikers, paddlers, climbers and others who are attracted by its combination of history and scenic beauty.
"We are so stoked for this weekend," Stover said. "Water Stone Outdoors is transforming into a wand shop, we have escape rooms themed after the Room of Requirement, the visitor center will be the home to many mysterious beasts. It is going to be so much fun!"
The majority of events are free, unless listed with ticket information, and the festival is not gated but includes a series of family-friendly hands-on activities, live music, magical foods, and drink specials, scavenger hunts, wizardly classes and costume contests throughout the town, she said.
"We encourage visitors of all ages to dress in costume, and many merchants are offering discounts for those participating in costume," she said.
A highlight of the event, at 2 p.m. on Saturday on the courthouse square, competitors will play a One-Wheel Quidditch Game, blending the sport inspired by fantasy fiction with one-wheeled skateboards popular forms of transportation in the community.
For more information on the weekend, visit the Wizard Weekend Guide.
Rim-to-rim race beneath New River Gorge Bridge set May 16
A remarkable 10-kilometer running and walking race through the scenic New River Gorge near Fayetteville, West Virginia, could attract as many as 400 participants on May 16, organizers say. A first-of-its-kind challenge, the rim-to-rim race will follow a paved route beneath the New River Gorge Bridge and is already attracting interest nationally, according to sponsor Active Southern West Virginia. Read the full story here.