For the past three years, Staunton has played host to the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival, a home-grown fan festival celebrating J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as all things magical and mystical. On September 27-29, join thousands of seriously excited fans for themed shopping, dining, performances and hands-on activities for all ages as 11 blocks of our historic downtown is transformed into an enchanted village.
First Things First
- Select your highlights from the schedule and grab a map of the event. Maps can be found at the QCMM Info Booths on Augusta Street between Beverley and Johnson Streets (#38 and #61 on the map). Look for Norberta, our BIG green Dragon. Maps can also be found at the Shuttle Station downtown (#3 on the map). Make a note of parking, restroom, and if necessary, changing and breastfeeding facilities.
- Make arrangements to leave your non-service pets at home. The festival is noisy and crowded — not the best environment for fur buddies.
- Plan your costume. While costumes aren’t necessary, they’re definitely encouraged. Look here to see some examples from last year. A children’s costume parade is planned for Saturday at 12:30 at Sunspots Pavilion. The adult version of the event kicks off at 7 p.m.
- Check the weather. Pack sunscreen and sunglasses or an umbrella. Many of the events take place outside.
- Plan to stay hydrated. Bring your water bottle to fill up on the go at the Aguamente Filling Station (provided by Sutton’s Home Inspections), located behind Suntrust Bank.
- There will be a charging station at Hammond Insurance on Beverley Street, near the big green dragon: all those videos and selfies you’ll be taking will drain your battery. Be sure to post and tag them with #qcmm2019 and #lovestaunton.
- If you’re traveling with others, plan a meeting place.
What to Do
The QCMM festival lineup includes tarot readings, wand-making and deuling demonstrations, English teas, festival-themed escape room fun, henna tattoos, shopping (from wizard gear to unique gifts and food items, and even props from past performances at Blackfriars), selfie stops, scavenger hunts using the Traipse app, wizard house sorting, crafting, quidditch matches, ghost tours, a live owl show, dance instructions, family-friendly dance parties, a 5K race, a fire circus, festival VIP’s arrival by train, and performances and lectures at the Blackfriars, and much, much more. We guarantee you’ll have plenty of things to keep you busy! Some events at QCMM are ticketed, but many are free.
Here are more details and a full schedule of events.
Where to Stay
How to Get Around
Several streets in downtown Staunton will be closed to traffic during the weekend festival, so wear comfortable shoes and plan to do some walking. Limited parking will be available on the streets and public lots outside the immediate downtown area, but it will fill quickly. Alternatively, the festival will run shuttle buses on 9:30 a.m to 9 p.m Saturday from the Federated Auto Parts parking lot located at 795 Statler Boulevard. Include hours Street closings will be available on the Waze app.
What to Eat
Check out special festival food and drink like Bubbly Dragon Brew at Laughing Bird Pho and Butter Beer at Baja Bean, cake pops and flights at The Book Dragon. Downtown Staunton has a number of fine restaurants and many will offer festival specials. Plan accordingly as lines may be long during peak festival hours. Here’s a list of Staunton restaurants.
What Else to Do
If you need a bit of a break from the magic, reconnect with the natural world: Try an easy area hike with kids. Or if you want the backstory on all those cool, Victorian buildings that form the backdrop for QCMM, learn the real history of Beverley Street in Explore Staunton on Foot: Beverley District. Stop by the Visitor Center, 35 S. New Street, for a walking tour brochure.