Dust Off Your Wands for Staunton’s Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival
Calling all wizards and magical beings: On September 24th – 25th, the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival (QCMM) will return to Staunton. The past two years have been virtual, but in 2022, the event is live and in-person! Since 2016, this home-grown fan festival has celebrated J.K Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as everything else mystical and magical. Much of downtown Staunton transforms into an enchanted village. Visitors can explore hands-on activities, demonstrations, themed dining and shopping, and meet their favorite characters.
There’s so much to do at QCMM! Some activities are ticketed, but much of the festival is free to guests. Check the schedule for full details. Here are some highlights:
- A chance to meet and greet your favorite (and most feared!) characters
- Shopping (including wizard gear and magical merch, unique gifts, crystals, and even props and costumes from past performances at Blackfriars)
- Dance instructions and other Hogwarts classes will be provided by the American Shakespeare Center
- Traipse puzzles and a festival-themed escape room, The Rise of the Dark Mage
- Quidditch matches and Quidditch Camp to level up your bludger skills
- Numerous selfie spots featuring scenes from the Harry Potter world
- Kids’ craft tents with activities like making a wand, snitch, house crest, and more
- A sorting hat and magician testing will determine once and for all if you’re Ravenclaw or Gryffindor
- A Triwizard Tourney maze
- Butterbeer, gigglewater, and lots of delicious food
- Facepainting, glitter, and henna tattoos by Glitter Bee
- Live music by Staunton Queen City Brass, music from the films at Trinity Episcopal Church, and live theater from Silver Line Theatre Exchange
- Snake shows by Michael Schwedick of Reptile World featuring a cast of scaly friends
- A dragon show with a real “live” dragon
- A Dance Like No One is Watching Dementor Dance Party
- Magical superstition tours
- Festival VIP’s arrival by train
- Can I come in costume? Costumes are not required at QCMM, but they sure are encouraged. Look at pics from past years for inspiration.
- Where can I park?
- First-come, first-serve handicap parking will be available downtown as well as limited street and lot parking.
- Visitors should plan to park at the satellite lot at Staunton Mall and take the free shuttle to the festival. (Shuttles only available Saturday)
- Can I bring my pet? Service animals are welcome, but please leave other pets at home.
- Is there water? The festival will have a bottle-filling station, but you should bring your own water bottle or plan to purchase one.
- Will I need to walk far? It’s up to you, but there’s a lot to see, so you’ll probably be on your feet for a while. Wear comfortable shoes!
- Where’s the….? Check your digital or paper map for all festival locations including events, businesses, restrooms, and first aid, changing and breastfeeding stations.
- Where can I stay? Staunton boasts hotels, motels, B&Bs, and small inns located in the downtown area and a short drive away. See a list. Lodging fills quickly, so reserve your home base ASAP.
- Where can I eat? Downtown Staunton bustles with restaurants, many of which will be running QCMM specials. Plan accordingly as lines may be longer during peak festival hours. Here’s a list of Staunton restaurants including those outside the festival footprint.