On Saturday 26th March we at the Pastel Palace hosted a Harry Potter themed market called Evening at Hogwarts. When we originally discussed it, it was just going to be about four stalls in the front yard of our shop running past our usual closing time. So a facebook event was created and we probably shared it to the usual amount of people we share any of our other events to (there are monthly artist and crafters markets as well as the occasional fundraiser event or art show). But somehow, without us ever understanding how or why, the event went viral and the numbers of potential attendees starting moving up to the hundreds. There was a venue change when it started getting into the thousands and by the time we had the event, there were over 7800 people who had clicked “going” and 18,000 who said they were interested in the event.
In the end we had thirteen vendors (you can see the list of vendors here) in a hall which has a maximum capacity of maybe 300 or so people and a rough guess of maybe 6000 people turning up to attend. People lined up for upwards for two hours, some people event claimed they waited for over four, in the hot sun for a chance to look at our little market. So say we were unprepared for this much interest in a massive understatement. But how do you actually prepare for something like this? How seriously can you take the attending list from a facebook event? How many times can you post reminders that this is a small, free market a few Harry Potter fans are putting on for fun? It was bizarre and I’m still shocked by it all. We had people lining up for blocks consistently from about 11am until 6.45pm when I realised the line was still there and just let everyone in so we could close at 7pm.
The good news is that all of the vendors did well, sold heaps and made some money. Our Ruby Kawaii stall did better in one day that we usually make at a whole weekend at Supanova! I only ended up doing eight sets of nails because I felt like I could be of more use elsewhere, thought eight sets of nails at one event is still pretty good! Ben spent a good four hours on our facebook event fielding complaints and keeping people updated when he had only come along to help us set up and take a few photos! My friends Chris and Bizzy who were only meant to come for a couple of hours to serve/set up were there the whole day without rest. Thanks again, guys!
Needless to say we’re looking into having a 2nd event but will be planning it very differently to ensure things run more smoothly and people don’t have to line up for hours in the sun. We’re also going to be careful about expecting that kind of turn out again, as there’s a very good chance it was a weird, once-off freak occurrence. I mean, I had my Harry Potter fan club in the early-mid 2000s and we had maybe 100 or so members at its peak, so we had NO idea a Hogwarts themed market would get so much attention when the last movie and book came out years ago! So needless to say you’ll probably see me post about this in the near future!
Here are a few photos Ben took before things got too hectic and he became our social media manager: