Harry Potter festival planned in Okeechobee later this year

OKEECHOBEE — Big Lake Interact Club, a community service organization for middle and high school students sponsored by the Rotary Club, is in the planning stages for putting on a Harry Potter festival in Okeechobee at the American Legion on May 12.

The festival would serve as a fundraiser for Big Lake Interact, with the goal of giving scholarships to graduating seniors and sending students to a leadership camp over the summer.

Some of the activities discussed at the Interact Club’s meeting on Feb. 20 included a seeker tryout for younger kids, where a golden snitch would be hidden and a prize awarded to whomever discovered it. Other activities discussed were broomstick races and a Harry Potter-themed trivia contest with the grand prize being tickets to Universal Studios.

Top row, from left: Chandler Smet, Makaya Whitehead, Saul Estrada, Ricky Lopez and Tia Shorey. Bottom row: Marisol Rodriguez, Sarah Nichols and Jazzmyn Lara. Photo by R. Marion.

A sorting hat is also planned, where upon sitting down the hat would sort you into one of the four Hogwart’s houses, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff.

Brian Wendt and Tami Wendt, owners of Time to Escape, located at 2825 S.W. Third Terrace, also discussed helping the Interact Club by designing a Harry Potter-themed escape room to be staged at the festival. Escape rooms are a game in which players must solve a series of puzzles and riddles, using hints and developing strategies to escape the room.

The club wants to have Harry Potter-themed food available as well, such as butterbeer, chocolate frogs and chocolate-dipped pretzel wands, in addition to normal muggle food such as pizza or pigs in a blanket.

Interact clubs are designed to give students aged 12-18 a chance to develop leadership skills while taking action to make a difference in their community and schools. There are currently over 20,000 interact clubs active around the world.

Rotary member Myranda McAllister, who is one of the sponsors of Big Lake Interact, says the club is looking to increase its membership.

“Right now we have mainly high schoolers in the club,” said Mrs. McAllister. “But technically it’s open for anyone in middle school through high school. They are always looking to expand their members. They have a lot of seniors right now who will be graduating soon, so the club was talking earlier about reaching out to some freshman in Okeechobee. If anyone is interested in joining, they should reach out through the club’s Facebook page. Just send a message saying you want to join and they’ll definitely respond.”

To inquire about joining the club or to follow any updates on the Harry Potter festival, you can find Big Lake Interact Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/biglakeinteract.

Richard Marion
Members of the Big Lake Interact Club conclude their meeting on Feb. 20 where they discussed plans to present a Harry Potter festival in May in Okeechobee. Photo by R. Marion.

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