Lisa Nugent/UNH Photographic Services "GRYFFINDOR!" Rachel Swett '16, as Ron Weasley, gets her turn under the Sorting Hat, wielded by parent Kris McCosh.
Lisa Nugent/UNH Photographic Services WIZARD WANNABES Meghan Young '13 and Carter Bascom '13 channel their inner Potter during a magical night at Holloway Commons.
Muggles, rejoice! The UNH Dining staff knows how to work magic. It took more than the wave of a wand, but students were welcomed back to campus this semester with a Harry Potter Night in Holloway Commons, complete with a flying car, a goblet of fire, and hundreds of floating candles—a feat of engineering and patience that involved countless yards of fishing line and battery-powered holiday candles suspended from the ceiling, all hand-tied by the dining staff.
More than 4,000 Potter enthusiasts descended on the Hogwarts dining room, some in wizard robes and crooked glasses, winding their way past the Quidditch World Cup, formerly the main buffet, for Dobby's Drumsticks (turkey legs), Muggle Stew (seafood bouillabaisse), Steamed Frog's Eyes (minted peas), and Mrs. Weasley's Au Gratin Potatoes. They stopped by Slug and Jiggers Apothecary, once the stir-fry station, for a taste of Hagrid's Hogs (bangers and mash) and Earthworms and Nightcrawlers (noodles). And then there were the desserts—owl-shaped Hedwig Cupcakes, Hufflepuff cream puffs, and more than a thousand chocolate frogs.
Lisa Nugent/UNH Photographic Services Triple Threat
Dining staff members, from left, Gretchen Metz '99, David Hill '84, and Rochelle L'Italien '88 portray Potter, Snape, and Bellatrix Lestrange.
Along the way, diners were entertained by a group of theater students who performed numbers from "A Very Potter Musical" and were greeted by some favorite characters, courtesy of the dining staff, who donned costumes for the event. "People really loved it," says Deborah Scanlon, area manager, who was masquerading as Dolores Umbridge. "We even had graduates calling to ask if they could attend." The National Association of College and University Food Services was impressed, too, awarding UNH Dining a silver medal in the Special Event/Theme Dinner category.
"If I closed my eyes, I could almost pretend I was hanging out with Ron and Hermione," writes Samantha Friedman '14, describing the event on the UNHTales.com blog. "After a hectic day of juggling classes, work, and extracurricular activities, it was great to escape it all and enjoy a night of magic." With any luck, UNH muggles will get their wish, and the magic will return next year.