Wizard Way of the Ozarks makes $10,000 Donation to Asbell Elementary School, $1000 donation to Raptor Rehab
Yesterday we were able to hand over our donation to the principal, Ms. Tracy Bratton, of Asbell Elementary School in Fayetteville Public Schools in the amount of $10,000! This is a little more than double what we've been able to donate in the past and there's no way we could have done this without you. We feel so lucky that we have such an amazing group of prefects, volunteers, and of course so many passionate and enthusiastic patrons who worked hard and played hard to give these kiddos more chances to experience enriching opportunities (and more!) that other students get to engage in.
We also just submitted our donation to Raptor Rehab of Central Arkansas in the amount of $1000 to do a small part in helping those wonderful folks feed and take care of the Owls and other Raptors we are so lucky to get to see and learn about at our event.
Our hearts are nearly bursting from our chests. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Wands up!
Summer, Staci, Katy, Roland, and all of the Wizard Way Prefects
February 10th 2022, Updated February 28th 2022 – Fayetteville, Arkansas
Calling all Wizards! Wizard Way of the Ozarks (formerly DiaCON Alley), Fayetteville's homegrown ALFiE award winning festival celebrating all things wizards, witches, fantastical beasts, and inspired by the ‘boy who lived’ is finally back March 19th and 20th of 2022! Overcoming several postponements since March of 2020, this magical event will once again take place at the Town Center on the downtown square in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Each year, Wizard Way of the Ozarks has succeeded in their goal to not only build community, support local makers and businesses, but to also donate proceeds to a local nonprofit in need. Proceeds this year will go toward funding the Asbell Elementary PTO – a high need school in the Fayetteville Public School district currently without their own parent teacher organization. They feel these students would feel the impact of that benefit in a tangible way that a jump start in funding would provide.
This wonderful and weird weekend will be a huge celebration of magic and mischief with plenty of opportunities for all ages – all are encouraged to dress up or wear costumes! Expect to walk through the merchant alley, full of talented artisans and local vendors who will be displaying their curious and nerdy wares. Save room to drink and eat many magical delicacies from booths and food trucks that will be available, ready to tantalize your taste buds (no puking pasties, we solemnly swear!). The Town Center will be providing lots of drink options including everyone's favorite bubbly, creamy Butterbrew!
Ongoing Interactive opportunities will be available all weekend - a magical item scavenger hunt, house sorting, collecting house points for door prizes, plenty of photo ops, wand dueling, a costume contest, wizard duels, house common room meeting times, and more! Dare to try one or both wizard themed escape rooms? One of them might even try your ability to escape a sickeningly pink and kitten bedecked office to flee a detention session as a student at our School of Wizardry (we must not tell lies!). On the main stage, encounter educational and entrancing shows and live creatures (such as raptors, including owls) to awe and delight! For a mellower pace, gaming rooms for all ages with a variety of magic themed tabletop games are tucked away from the chaos awaiting for you to play.
Lastly, for those not exhausted from all of that - VIP ticket holders, those that have held onto their tickets since 2020 through the rescheduled dates, volunteers, and vendors are invited to join us for a Wizard Dance Party with DJ Brock after hours at the Town Center from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. There will be a cash bar stocked with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic libations.
Community coming together in a time of much needed joy (for a great cause) is the best part of it all! Join and help make Wizard Way of the Ozarks 2022 the best year yet. Wands up!
The Head Wizards and Prefects of Wizard Way of the Ozarks feel that it's very important for us to continually acknowledge that Transgender and Non-binary people are a valid and a very integral and valued part of the Potterverse Fan Community.
If you've been following JKR's thoughts and statements throughout the past few years, it may have left you feeling very disappointed, betrayed, and even angry, as it did us and many of the actors and crew that worked on the films. For over 20 years now, the collective 'we' have built an indestructible community together. Countless people have used these books and fan fiction to explore their own identities while spreading love and acceptance. Needless to say, we see the underlying themes in the series to be very contrary to JKR's words of ignorance. We personally have family, friends, and loved ones who identify as transgender or non-binary, so we can firmly say that a verbal act of abuse against those folks is one against all of us.
Wizard Way of the Ozarks is an event celebrating the experience of fandom and the long histories, nostalgia, and love that has (for many of us) been part of the better portion of our lives. While we focus on the Potterverse, we are not endorsed or sanctioned by JKR or WB. In fact, the values our community holds close are very much opposed to the fear and hatred that JKR has been spreading about members of the trans and non-binary communities in recent years.
We will continue to celebrate the literature we all love, not only joyfully but also critically, and we will not shy away from discussing complex topics, especially those that affect marginalized communities. We want folks that attend our festival to explore and express themselves without fear. It’s a central part of our mission to make our spaces safe and welcoming. Anyone that encounters otherwise should contact us immediately so we can make sure it doesn't happen again.
Our shared love of stories brought us together and for that we are forever grateful. Remember though that this community is about something much bigger than the idolization of one flawed person. We will focus on the happiness and joy that comes from our shared interests, passions, and experiences, and we will not merit or endorse ignorance.
If you didn't know, the folks that put on this little festival have lived most of their lives in our ordinary world, in ordinary jobs, in the cozy but ever expanding Ozarks. The outside eye might see this place as void of magic, but we've spent most of our lives looking for and FINDING it here. There are so many places in NWA that make it special.
In 2017, as 30-somethings with a deep love of a special wizarding fandom and hearts for making a difference, we had no clue what we were doing. It started with an idea, two life long friends, one of their willing husbands, and after a call for help some ESSENTIAL willing souls who would soon become friends (not just willing volunteers) who wanted to bring wizard-inclined nerds together to enjoy something we not only all had a common language for but something that was also tied to so much nostalgia. The divisions during this time were strong in the world, especially the US, and we needed some sort of salve for the wounds that had been created.
We went from the festival idea to reality in the span of 4 months with a shoe string budget and a 'can do' attitude. We thought perhaps we could get 200 people together to raise a little money to cover the cost of the venue and donate to a local nonprofit, but as the story goes, we were blown away by the response and the first year we had close to 2000 people attend!
The first DiaCON Alley of the Ozarks had some hiccups but overall it was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. It even won an ALFIE Award! We had so much fun that we did it all again in 2019 and during those two years we were able to donate thousands to the NWA Children's Shelter, Arkansas Support Network, and hundreds to a couple other nonprofits that participated as part of the festival.
The photo here is from a group of some of the ladies who almost all met each other and developed friendships because of these events. In January 2020 we went on this trip and had THE BEST time a mere month and a half before the world shut down in 2020. A little over a mere month and a half until we were supposed to have our 3rd annual Wizard Way of the Ozarks. You know how the story goes from here - the reschedules, the changes, the waiting. It's been 2 years now and we are more than ready to pick up where we left off, as safely as we can. We feel lucky that we've been able to 'keep the lights on' so to speak over these last two years, mostly because of all of YOU holding onto your tickets, and the kindness and collaboration of Experience Fayetteville, our venues, vendors, and entertainers. Thanks for hanging in there with us. Let's make Wizard Way of the Ozarks 2022 the best yet! Asbell Elementary PTO is the beneficiary for this year's donation and we want to put in our best effort!
Your friends in magic,
Wizard Way of the Ozarks Prefects
We've done our waiting... 2 years of it... in AZKA--
No, wait, that's not it! But it has been far too long, magical friends! After postponing our event in 2020 and 2021, we are once again happy to remind you that we will be bringing back the fan convention inspired by our love of worlds of wizardry and the boy who lived for the 3rd time this March 19th and 20th, 2022! The head prefects are readying our quills and practicing our incantations to pull together the dragon heartstrings that make Wizard Way of the Ozarks a day for the extraordinary!
We cannot express our thank you enough to those that have waited. Any tickets purchased and held on to in 2020/2021 will still be honored, of course! No changes need to be made. If you need your tickets resent to you, please let us know. To those folks who did get their original tickets refunded, we understand completely, and hope you will choose to join the merriment once again by re-purchasing them! If you're just joining us for the first time, HALLO, and welcome!
For the safety of our guests, we be following all precautions recommended by the CDC concerning the COVID-19 pandemic during the event. Please read guidance on current regulations here on our Covid-19 Precautions Page. Huzzah and wands up!
Wizard Way of the Ozarks Prefects
Dearest Wizards and Muggles,
If you had told us this time last year that we wouldn’t be having Wizard Way 2020 due to a global pandemic and that almost a year later in 2021 the pandemic would still be ongoing, cases still on the rise, with hundreds of thousands lives lost to it, it would have been unimaginable to us. The past year has been trying everyone; we have seen COVID-19 ravage families, communities, and of course industries near and dear to our hearts - front line workers, the service industry, and those in the live event industry (conventions, concerts, and live theatre) just to name a few.
Naturally, we have been getting a lot of questions about if we are carrying on with our event this March. We’ve waited as long as we could to see if Wizard Way of the Ozarks could continue safely, but it is clear to us that our event cannot continue on as planned in March 2021. There are many reasons - COVID cases are higher than when we rescheduled in July 2020, strict regulations and policies have been put in place by the Arkansas Dept of Health as of January 1st 2021, more infectious virus variants are being discovered, and vaccinations not as widespread as we hoped at this point. Due to all of that, even if we could continue many parts of our event (such as escape rooms, the dance party, and game room) would have to be taken out altogether to abide by ADH rules. Furthermore, many of our entertainers, vendors, and volunteers have stated that they, in good faith, cannot participate until the vaccine is more widely available and they are able to receive it.
We have decided to postpone Wizard Way of the Ozarks until March 19th and 20th 2022. Outright cancelling isn’t an option for us - not only would it ensure we wouldn’t be able to do this event again in the future, it would admit defeat and deny the happiness that we and so many others get from being able to come together to share our fandom passions with one another. After much discussion, we feel this is the right choice for us to make, no matter how much it pains us. By the time that March 2022 rolls around it is our hope that most of the previously stated concerns will no longer apply and we can continue our event as we have in the past.
We ask that you permit us the same grace given from Dumbledore to the Golden Trio when they tried time after time to do the right thing while facing difficult decisions. The Head Wizards and Prefects of our little convention are so thankful for your patience and understanding thus far and hope you continue to realize we have everyone’s best interests at heart.
What about your tickets? We hope you will keep your tickets purchased in 2020 and 2021 and hang onto them with us. Our new dates are March 19th and 20th 2022. Your tickets will continue to be valid & honored when it is safe for us to carry on the convention. If that won’t work for you, please email us and we will help take care of you.
Lastly, we want something good to come from this while we are waiting for it to be safe. We’ve already gone a year without having the ability to sow positivity into our community in some way. That is why we have created a t-shirt to go towards benefitting food security in NWA. Using whatever we are able to raise, the Head Wizards and Prefects will fill as many Little Free Pantries in NWA with as much shelf stable food as we can. We hope you can participate, but if you can’t contribute we hope that you can utilize these resources for yourselves or your friends when we distribute the food. Check out the bonfire fundraiser here.
We will be back to proudly wearing our house colors, practicing spells, meeting new friends, and raising our wands before you know it.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
“What’s coming will come, and we’ll meet it when it does.” - Hagrid
Your friends in magic,
Staci, Summer, Katy, and Roland
Head Wizards on behalf of
Wizard Way of the Ozarks
Dear Wizard Friends,
The last few months have been a floo-network-level-whirlwind - from initially postponing our event that was only one week away because we had to quarantine and lock down to rescheduling that date for a 2nd time because things weren’t getting better. We have been on our toes this entire time!
As we have carefully been monitoring the status of the spread of the pandemic through our state, we had our hopes up back in the middle of May that by our last rescheduled date, cases would be in decline and we would be able to meet in merriment united by our love of our little wizarding community. We were willing to take precautions and be overly safe - requiring masks, getting rid of activities like the escape room and dueling wands, greatly limiting ticket sales, and others. However, in the past couple weeks we have been watching the cases rise every day. Today, as we write this, Arkansas just set the record for the single highest amount of new cases in the last 24 hours - that’s higher than Seattle’s peak of that same measure.
As of right now, we feel that it would be morally irresponsible and careless for us to continue our event and put so many people at risk of contracting the virus. Therefore, we will be postponing our event until Spring of 2021. We are working to nail down dates ASAP and will have those for you by early next week at the latest.
All of those that have purchased tickets prior to today will once again automatically be carried over and honored for our 2021 date. We will have incentives for those of you that have already purchased your tickets (including an exclusive t-shirt for everyone and entry to our Saturday Night Wizard Party. VIPs don’t worry, we’ll throw in something extra for you too). Please email us if this option will not work for you.
Our hearts ache that we can't do it this year, but they especially ache for our entertainers and vendors missing out on income from the event, so we will continue to spotlight them. What Dumbledore said in the 4th book keeps running through our heads; “There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” We believe this is the right choice and we would rather have a fun, big, full event later on than a watered down version right now.
Thank you for sticking with us through this. We wish nothing but good things for you, your family, and friends. As always, any questions or comments can be emailed to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay Safe & Wands up!
Your friends in magic,
Staci, Summer, Roland, and Katy
On March 11th, the State of Arkansas was declared by the Governor to be in a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus pandemic. At that time we decided to abide by the advice of the state and city and reschedule our event for May.
We have been monitoring the situation as closely as possible since then. Last week, the State of Arkansas decided to keep students from returning to physical school buildings the rest of the year. It is estimated that peak amounts of cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas will be at the end of this month. The federal government is advising the public to stay at home as much as possible and not gather in groups larger than 10 until at least the end of April. Due to the seriousness of this virus, it is very probable that this advice to ‘stay at home’ will be extended until June. When we consider all of the things that we’ve listed, we feel that continuing to have our event in mid-May would not be a good decision if we want to hold the health and safety of all our wizard friends, family and the community in the highest regard.
That said, Wizard Way of the Ozarks 2020 will be postponed one more time and rescheduled once again and will now be held the weekend of August 1st and 2nd. We deeply apologize for having to move it again, but we feel that it is the most responsible decision we can make, given the circumstances.
All tickets that have already been purchased are being transferred to these new dates once again. Your ticket type and day will remain the same and we will update our schedule of events if any further changes are made. If there is a conflict with these new dates, please email us so that we can assist you.
The light at the end of this tunnel is that July 31st 2020 is a certain boy who lived’s 40th birthday, so our festival and wizard dance party will be a themed around his 40th HAPPEE BIRTHDAE Weekend! You know we’ll have cake, butterscotch beer, and frogs of chocolate ready for you.
Thank you for hanging in there with us - we know it will be worth it.
Your friends in magic,
Staci, Roland, Summer, Katy & the rest of the Wizard Way of the Ozark Prefects
Yesterday, Mayor Jordan declared a State of Emergency for the City of Fayetteville. We have been in communication with the City and they have asked for the cancellation of all large public and private gatherings until at least March 30th. The health and safety of our wizard friends, family and the community is our top priority and, after consulting the Town Center, we have decided to reschedule.
Our small group of prefects, just some regular folks with day jobs, have been working diligently for months to host this magical event. Countless hours have gone into making props, advertising, programming, logistics, and so much more… so we are definitely crestfallen but remain hopeful that our event will be even better once this public health emergency is over. Wizard Way of the Ozarks 2020 will now be held the weekend of May 16th and 17th. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
All tickets are being transferred to these new dates. Your ticket type and day will remain the same and we will update our schedule of events if any changes are made. If there is a conflict with these new dates, please email us so that we can assist you. For anyone that wanted to come and does not have tickets, you can still purchase those at http://bit.ly/wizardway2020
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this chaos as we were so looking forward to this light of happiness in dark times. We assure you that what is to come will still be ‘bloody brilliant’!
We will see you in May. Chins and Wands up!
Your friends in magic,
Staci, Roland, Summer, Katy & the rest of the Wizard Way of the Ozark Prefects
Greetings Wizards and Witches!
(CURRENT Update 3/13/20 - We are working with the Town Center as well as the City of Fayetteville to find a solution on the status of our event. We will update everyone as we know more.)
(Update 3/12/20 - Click here to go to the Arkansas Department of Health Website to see the most recent updates on presumed and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas.)
In light of recent events, we would like to address concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
While attending the convention, we ask that everyone use good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands often with soap and water. Hand sanitizers will also be made available throughout the convention for your convenience when handwashing is not immediately available.
Additionally, you can avoid handshakes by exchanging greetings with a curtsy and a bow or coming up with a secret no-contact hand shake.
If you have any medical complications that would make you more vulnerable to illness, please consult with your medical provider before deciding whether or not to attend. We also ask that guests who are showing signs of illness consult with their health care provider before attending the convention. We would love to have you, but your safety and that of others is our top priority.
For additional information concerning COVID-19 you can visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov .
We will continue to monitor the situation and give updates if there are any changes.
Signed in utmost sincerity,
Head Prefects on behalf of Wizard Way of the Ozarks