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Quidditch Tournament Coming To Roanoke

Member of the Va Tech Quidditch team have a go of it last week.

Harry Potter fans young and old with gather in Green Hill Park in Roanoke County November 3rd and 4th for the first Quidditch tournament.

Quidditch is a fictional sport created by author J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter series that has been adapted to a real life competition. The Roanoke County event will be the first Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.  County Parks, Recreation & Tourism head Doug Blount says between 20 and 30 teams will compete and the winners will go to the World Cup next spring in Kissimmee, Florida.

Virginia Tech Quidditch team member Kitty Schafernoth says there are seven players on each team.  “I would describe it as a mix between soccer and dodgeball and rugby, with a little bit of tag thrown in.”

The sport is played on “broomsticks” and the object is to put a ball through one of three hoops, while the other team tries to prevent it.  The end of the game comes when a team member captures the “Golden snitch” who is a runner dressed in yellow.

Landon Howard, President of the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau was happy the area was able to snag the tournament.  “Visitation equals spending, equals jobs and we know that’s important today [for] tax revenues as well to support government services.”

Blount says Roanoke County won out over several other locations.  “We competed against Winston Salem, North Carolina; College Park, Maryland; and Salisbury, Maryland for the tournament.”  He thinks the County’s facilities pushed Roanoke County to the top of the list.

“Green Hill Park provided a great deal of flexibility for the IQA (International Quidditch Association) to have multiple fields at once; to be able to have lights to be able to compete at night.  We also had a Convention & Visitors Bureau that was willing to partner with them to help with accommodations, arranging for social activities and such. So we really were able to offer an entire package that was very attractive for the organization.”

 “Anybody who’s willing to be a little athletic can come out and play a game.  We get a lot of athletes who played sports in high school who can’t play in college.  We get a lot of Harry Potter fans.”

In addition to the tournament, spectators can participate in a number of free events.  Wendi Schultz, Special Events Coordinator for Roanoke County Parks, Recreation & Tourism, says Saturday, November 3rd from 10am to 5pm, visitors to the park can participate in a snitch scavenger hunt, OWL exams, make potions, play in life-sized chess tournaments, and learn how to play Quidditch from members of competing teams.  Schultz says there will also be a lookalike contest for your favorite Harry Potter character.

And this may just be the start for Quidditch in the Roanoke Valley.  Blount says he can see teams and leagues forming in the not-too-distant future.  “We’re seeing this develop across the country, across college campuses.  We’re fortunate that we have a nationally recognized team here at Virginia Tech. . . I do believe that as the sport grows in popularity that you could see it on a local level with higher participation numbers.”

Keep that broomstick handy.

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