Are you a big fan of the Harry Potter series? Is it your dream to spend an entire weekend nerding out with other adults about the series, dressing like a wizard, brandishing your wand all over the place, participating in intense discussions about the series and the world J.K. Rowling created, and dancing all night at different themed dance parties? I found all of that and more at MISTI-con, a small, immersive biannual Harry Potter convention in Laconia, New Hampshire.
Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Attend MISTI-con:
1. It’s a very small, intimate convention. They cap attendance at 500 people, which really gives you the chance to get to know other attendees.
2. MISTI-con takes over the entire hotel, limiting the number of muggles (non-magic folk) one runs across during their time there. The majority of people you will see are dressed up in some form of wizard gear and super excited to talk to fellow fans.
3. It’s very open and accepting there. The convention has a strong anti-harassment policy, though I am honestly not sure how much it is needed with the quality of attendees this convention attracts. (Or perhaps these policies help attract an open, friendly crowd or deters the rude, judgmental types.) You can be free to be… well, YOU.
4. Everything is themed. Seriously, everything. There are some AMAZING decorations all over the place including a fantastic statue when you first walk into the main lobby, a dragon in the tent that looked ready to breath fire at any moment, signs all over the walls… the organizers went out of their way to create a wizarding environment for attendees. In 2013, they even had a two story Voldemort that appeared on the beach one night.
5. MISTI-con includes some of the most unique and entertaining programming of any Harry Potter convention that I have attended. This year, my favorites included wizard dueling (pictured below), a course on American wizarding schools, and an active and energetic lesson on historical dancing, of all things. There is literally something for every Harry Potter fan at this convention. One night, they had a pool party taking place at the indoor pool as well as “Unspeakable Night”, an industrial/goth/80s dance party. If those didn’t suit your fancy, there were other informal gatherings and room parties taking place throughout the hotel.
6. Wizard rock! I will admit – I’m not the biggest fan of wizard rock (aka “wrock”.) If you are not familiar with the genre, it is music with a Harry Potter theme. A lot of it is, in my personal opinion, not so great. However, the wrock bands at MISTI-con were actually REALLY good. I wish I had spent more time at the wrock concerts. Luckily for those of us with poor time management skills and who spent all of our money on booze and lobster rolls instead of wrock CDs, MISTI’s organizers arranged for all attendees to get an album with music from a number of the wrock performers! There was a code on the back of all of our con badges with information on where to go to download the music. Since returning, I have been jamming to the sweet sounds of Swish and Flick in my car.
7. Have I mentioned the gorgeous views? This was the view from just outside of the main tent before the Opening Gala.
8. Kick off your shoes at the Ministry Masquerade! The masquerade is the closing ball, where you and your fellow witches and wizards will dance the night away. Attendees have the option of wearing formal gowns, cosplay, or casual clothes, whichever makes them happiest. As a result, it’s common to arrive home and go “…is that me? Did I dance all up on Dumbledore? Oh look, and here I am hugging Voldemort!” Almost everyone comes away from the Masquerade ball with fun stories and pictures to back them up when they get home.
Due to a clause in the International Statute of Secrecy regarding consumption of Firewhiskey and the presences of cameras, photos from this event will not be provided on this site. I guess you will simply have to attend the 2017 convention and take some photos of your own.
9. Official after-parties! These were new this year. Laconia has strict laws regarding outdoor noise after 9pm. The city council was nice enough to grant a one-hour extension to the convention hotel, which meant we still needed a way to burn all of that energy off after 10PM. The MISTI-con organizers had the brilliant idea to create themed after-parties in the underground conference rooms. One room held a rockin’ dance party, another hosted karaoke, and the final had one of the most fun Disney/Broadway sing-a-longs that I have ever attended. It took days to get “La Via Boheme” out of my head.
10. There are tons of neat local sites to check out! For ideas on where to go or what to do in your free time, check out our top five recommendations for places to visit in New Hampshire!