I am a shameless Harry Potter nerd.
I started reading the books when I was about nine, right when the first movie came out. Since then, I’ve read every book and seen every movie multiple times, stood in line at midnight on more than one occasion to get a book or see a film the moment it was released, purchased multiple items of Harry Potter memorabilia, and have added a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park to my list of places I absolutely must visit.
So when I heard that someone in Seattle had created a replica of Diagon Alley in their driveway, I knew I had to see it.
The replica was designed by Jonathon Chambers, who, according to the project’s website, was inspired to build it after talking to his two daughters about what they should do for Halloween. Proceeds go to fund Pancreatic cancer research, and once the structure is removed it is going to be donated to Camp Korey in Mount Vernon, Washington, which is a camp for children dealing with medical issues as well as their families.
Last week, my boyfriend and I braved the cold to see the Diagon Alley Project for ourselves.
After getting thoroughly lost (turns out the address Google lists automatically isn’t correct—you have to use the one found on the official website) we finally found the Ballard driveway where this project lives. The streets running through Ballard’s neighborhoods are narrow and usually filled with parked cars, but since it was the middle of a weekday we managed to find a parking spot not too far from the project. And with only a little bit of stress on my part.
Even though it was the middle of the week, we weren’t the only ones there. The Diagon Alley Project has been extremely popular, with thousands of people lining up to see it since October. It wasn’t hard to see why.
When you arrive, you walk through a replica of a brick wall that appears to be opening for you. As I entered (Imagining that I was a witch and about to go get my school supplies, naturally.) I was immediately struck by all of the details, and the way it felt as if you were actually walking into the world of Harry Potter.
Chambers’s driveway has been utterly transformed into a smaller version of Diagon Alley. From the hand-drawn images in the windows, to the shop signs, to the posters and small items placed around the display, to the dragon perched on top of “Gringotts,” the attention to detail is amazing.
My boyfriend and I geeked out like the nerds we are, and of course I had to get an action shot of me stepping through the wall. Finally, all of my dreams of being a wizard were coming true!
One of the many things that I love about Harry Potter is that it really can be appreciated by people of a variety of ages and backgrounds. While we were there, a young couple with their son, who was maybe five, was also visiting. It looked to me like the parents were fans, and now they were getting to share this experience with their son. It was a nice reminder of how the true magic of Harry Potter is the way it lives on, bringing people together, crossing generations, and creating good in the world.
If you get a chance, definitely stop by the Diagon Alley Project in Seattle before its last day on January 19th. You can also follow the project on the official website and Facebook. According to Facebook, this may not be the last Harry Potter-themed creation from Chambers, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what he builds next.
Have you been to the Diagon Alley Project of any other Harry Potter-themed events? Let me know in the comments!