LACONIA — Hundreds of people from around the world arrived at the 2015 Misti-Con event at The Margate over the Memorial Day weekend, claiming that this biennial convention is the most family oriented and enjoyable event of any Harry Potter "con" offered.
The inaugural convention in the Lakes Region was in 2010, sponsored by Odaiko New England, however this program was discontinued and was replaced by the Misti-Con program in 2013. The Misti-Con stands for the fictional Ministry Interdepartmental Service Training Institute which represents the cons overall "in-character" theme. Since its inception the local Misti-Con event has grown in popularity, drawing in nearly 500 people from around the world.
In addition to time socializing with friends from around the world, the five-day gathering offered various activities, including Witches Bazaar and Authors' Alley, which drew the most featured guests of the weekend. These guest stars included Chris Rankin who played Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films, who was flown in from England for a photo op during the event. Dr. Jenma Scarlott spoke about her job as a specialist in super hero therapy, and how that is changing the way people view and respond to therapy.
Individuals claim that the event is more enjoyable in Laconia than at Universal Studios in Orlando, as this con is more contained and community based. The Margate was deemed as an appealing location, as the resort served as sleeping quarters for all those participating in the event, which cut back on transportation time and kept interactions limited to only registered con attendees. Upon asking the event planner at The Margate what their reaction is to hosting the event, they stated that it was wonderful for business as the hotel has been booked solid for many months and was relying on other hotels to handle the overflow. Additionally, they commented that not only was the event great for business but also fun, too.
"This is the best Harry Potter event there is, as it is enjoyable being around people who have the same interest in an intimate environment. Everyone is exciting, dressing up, and letting people be what they want. This event is all run by the fans, too, which gives it an authentic feel," said Jamie Addington of Connecticut. "At times I wish it was made bigger, but it might lose the effect and all the little details that make it for you. Details that only nerds can appreciate."
The event drew people in from Nebraska, Texas, Ireland, Vancouver, Washington, Qatar, New York, New Zealand, and numerous other locations around the globe. Some of the guests had attended the event in 2013 and a family from Nebraska claimed that they had looked forward to returning to the Lakes Region for its interactions and beautiful environment, and returning to The Margate for its waterfront location and hospitable service.
When Qatar native Nick Kemsley was asked why she flew all the way over to New Hampshire for this event, she stated, "This is the most awesome feel and community for one long weekend. You make friends that are life-long, interesting and supportive, and who all share a love of Harry Potter. It's a long gap in between cons but when you return every two years, its more than an event its a family reunion, it's like coming home."
Additionally, Erik Hunt, Eric Baker, and George Gakoumis Jr., designers for the Harry Potter World section of Universal Studios Orlando held a question-and-answer session about the creation of the park. In the designers question and answer session, they stated that Harry Potter has not only set a high standard in the field of magical literature, but has also raised the bar for Universal and now they are going to be pushing for a greater attention to detail.
"This event has been growing and is featuring more people both from around the world and from the local community," said coordinator Johnathon Rosenthal. "This event has been a lot of fun, I look forward to seeing what future events have to offer."