Cops Will Card Drivers During Chestnut Hill’s Harry Potter Festival

Some 45,000 people packed the streets of the cozy northwest Philly neighborhood in 2016, creating an agoraphobe’s nightmare.

Photo via ChestnutHillPa.

Has the massively popular Harry Potter Festival gotten too big for Chestnut Hill? If you were anywhere on Germantown Avenue during last year’s event, this question will undoubtedly seem rhetorical.

Some 45,000 people packed the streets of the cozy northwest Philly neighborhood in 2016, creating an agoraophobe’s nightmare the likes of which we don’t see outside of Broad Street during the Mummer’s Parade. (With even fewer places to use the bathroom, to boot.) The shops and boutiques that line “the Avenue” were plenty happy with the large turnout; however, locals were quite put off by the congestion and issues with traffic/parking.

Last year, my roommate’s father had to shoo away a motorist in a wizard’s robe who attempted to park right on his front lawn. (No spells or charms were cast during the brief struggle.) This year, the Chestnut Hill Business District partnered with the Philadelphia Police Department to mitigate some of these concerns from residents in an attempt to keep the festival in the neighborhood where it all started seven years ago.

“Following last year’s event, we received feedback from residents, near neighbors, and visitors,” Martha Sharkey, the business district’s executive director, told the Chestnut Hill Local. “We took the feedback very seriously and have been working to create an improved experience this year. Additional police presence for traffic and crowd control, more portable restrooms, and several off-site parking locations have been secured.”

Photo via ChestnutHillPa.

On Saturday, only drivers with 19118 addresses will be allowed within the large police perimeter – so be prepared to show ID. Officers are blocking off the festival grounds on Germantown Avenue from Northwestern Avenue to the north, Cresheim Valley Drive to the south, Stenton Avenue to the east and St. Martin’s Lane to the west. The checkpoints are expected to help control parking, but expect heavy delays.

If you still insist on being among the chaos, your best bet is taking one of SEPTA’s “Hogsmeade Express” trains out to Chestnut Hill. If driving is the only option, visitors can park in one of several satellite lots and take the shuttle to the festival.

“We feel the changes for this year’s event will help to make the experience better not only for the residents of Chestnut Hill and surrounding communities, but also for the visitors attending the festival,” said Sharkey, who hopes these changes can prove the festival’s sustainability.

You can find everything you need to know about the Harry Potter Festival here.

Follow @jtrinacria on Twitter.