ITHACA (WBNG) — Many attendees of Wizarding Weekend in Ithaca on Sunday say they found their love of all things fantasy at a young age.
“Well I enjoyed my childhood, and I was a big fan of Jim Henson and Walt Disney and all of those over all the years. I was inspired and said let me see if I can make a goblin,” said Chad Paliotta, a vendor from Forestburgh, New York.
Paliotta’s first goblin grew into a fully fledged small business, something Paliotta describes as an accident.
“This is the byproduct of an over active imagination. We have an overabundance of imagination here, and this is just how we get it out of our systems,” he said.
A healthy dose of imagination was a common theme for both vendors and attendees at this year’s Wizarding Weekend.
“When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a witch or wizard to be honest, and I just love dressing up and this is a great opportunity, and I love that world,” said Jessica Redley.
Even for organizers of the festival, that childlike sense of wonder is one of their driving motivators to put on the events.
“I’ve been a geek since I was a kid, and I still am. I fairly enjoy the creativity, and the enthusiasm, and fans of all different fandoms come together in a really unique way when you get to have something like this,” said Darlynne Overbaugh, the festival director.
For many of these fans, festivals like the Wizarding Weekend are a chance to finally feel at home.
“I thought this has to be a place for people just as kooky as myself, so I thought if there was ever a place to be this would be it. People are out in full costumes and enjoying themselves so I think I was right. These are our kind of people,” Paliotta said.