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Community members connect at the 2019 Harry Potter Expo

ALPENA, MI — Some area kids got in character this weekend, dressing up like some of their favorite figures from a popular children’s movie and book series.

The Harry Potter Expo at the Alpena Mall brought out dozens of adults and children decorated in Harry Potter–themed garb. Event organizer Nichole Keyes says the event came about last year as an effort to bring people together.

“Actually last year, one of the merchants in the mall here brought the idea. [They said] ‘You know, hey I want to do this Harry Potter thing at my store, can we make it mall wide?’

And so we did, and it brought in hundreds of people and we did it again this year, expanded it a little bit, and it’s just going to keep rolling. ”

Keyes says beyond the popular theme of the event, she was happy to see participants make new friends from of their love of Harry Potter.

“It’s important for the community because it’s bringing community members together. We’re finding our common grounds and connecting on that level, which is amazing.”