HANFORD ­­— Hundreds of witches, wizards and warlocks visited downtown Hanford Friday night to cast an expecto patronum spell, summoning a night of fun.  

Main Street Hanford’s annual Witches Night Out saw 1,300 ticket-holding witches and many others congregate to put a spell on the wizarding world of downtown Hanford.

The first stop on the tour for many was the Antique Emporium and all anyone had to do to get there was meet at platform 9 ¾ at Hogsmeade’s Station.

“We wanted to turn the emporium into Hogwart’s as much as possible,” Antique Emporium general manager Nicole Vandecaveye said.  

The “deceptively large” antique shop was turned into the mythical Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the “Harry Potter” books for the event. Hundreds stopped in to get a taste of butter beer and meet emporium vendors who were dressed as characters from the books.

“It’s just a way to say ‘thank you’ to the regular customers and meet some new ones,” Vendecaveye, who was dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange, said.  

The “Harry Potter” films are a favorite in the Vandecaveye home, where regular binge-watching marathons are held, she said.

Lupe Bonds of Reedley has a family tradition of her own – coming to Witches Night Out.

In contrast to the many covens of witches clad in black, purple and orange, Bonds wore a homemade bright pink witch costumer complimented by flashing LED lights.

The pink was in observance of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in honor of her grandmother.

She said she brainstorms costume ideas all year and starts working on creating her outfits sometime in September, usually. While Bonds embraced the event and wore her light-up punk witch’s outfit, her sisters weren’t up to looking as showy, she said.

“They won’t wear the lights. They were like, ‘no.’ They were too embarrassed. I wear the lights, though, I go all out,” she said.

Friday marked the fourth Witches Night for Bonds and her sisters.

“We’ve loved everything so far, especially the Harry Potter theme,” she said.

Main Street Hanford organizes the annual event in collaboration with dozens of local businesses as a way to help revitalize the downtown area and make shoppers aware of local businesses they may not otherwise patronize or know about.

Each of the 1,300 ticketholders received a goodie bag and a treasure map of sorts with directions to dozens of local businesses that were open and offering free samples of adult beverages and other treats. Many businesses hosted smaller Halloween-themed mini-parties of their own.

Downtown was filled with the spirit of Halloween on the busy night as The Hanford Parks and Recreation Department hosted its annual after-party in Civic Park.

The Hanford Carnegie Museum was hosting a haunted house fundraiser.

The Civic Auditorium hosted the third annual “Rocky Horror Picture Show” shadowcast screening complete with a surprise on-stage marriage proposal.

The Hanford Fox Theatre screened the classic 1974 horror film, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

Contact the reporter at pbowman@hanfordsentinel.com

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