It started as arguably the city’s most ambitious home Halloween display: a replica of Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series built in a Ballard driveway by local dad Jonathan Chambers. The display is up until December 25 in Whittier Heights, and as it turns out, it transitions nicely between seasons, and makes a great backdrop for a visit with Dumbledore Santa.
December 2 and 3—this Saturday and Sunday—from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. both days, a “small theater pro” will be playing the starring role, but with a Harry Potter twist. Other Harry Potter characters (that is, actors playing them) will be showing up throughout the weekend, too, including Sirius Black, Professor McGonagall, Dobby, Hagrid and Hermione. (It’s basically an extremely ambitious pop-up cosplay party.)
They’re also adding a couple of brand-new features to the display: Gringotts (a bank, which is more exciting than it sounds because it’s for wizards and has a dragon) and Leaky Cauldron (a pub, but in this case for children) playhouses.
Chambers said in a release that he’s adding 180 gallons of fake snow to the display to keep it extra festive.
Because ‘tis the season, they’ll be selling Harry Potter-themed goodies onsite, including cookies, hot cocoa, and butterbeer. Proceeds will go to pancreatic cancer research through Purplestride, in honor of Mighty AI founder Matt Bencke. Chambers said the project has raised $8,400 so far.
Since the DIY Diagon Alley was completed in late October, Chambers estimates that around 10,000 people have come to see it.
When the project was first nearing completion, Chambers told Geekwire that October is his “power month.” Earlier this year, he quit a job in tech to “focus on this crazy thing.”
The buildings in his Diagon Alley replica include fine details like 3D-printed Hogwarts crests and lanterns. Since Halloween, the project has only gotten more ambitious; California artist Frank Carillo built Gringott’s dragon, which is being installed on the bank’s dome as soon as it arrives.
While the holiday festivities are limited to this weekend, the whole display will be up through Christmas. The home is located across the street from Whittier Elementary.