Last year’s Diagon Alley creation in Ballard was a huge hit: thousands of people from around the city came to visit Jonathan Chambers’ Harry Potter installation at his home in Whittier Heights. Now, he’s building another Diagon Alley installation at Camp Korey in Mt Vernon, which will be open for a preview this coming weekend at their fall festival.
After the Ballard Diagon Alley’s massive success, Chambers decided he wanted to donate the creation to an organization. He put the offer on Twitter last November, and the first response was from Camp Korey. Camp Korey is geared towards kids and families with serious medical conditions — they provide year-round programs, totally free of charge.
“After a visit to the camp later that month it was apparent that this is where I wanted the alley to live on,” Chambers tells My Ballard. “I have an older brother with special needs, and if Camp Korey was around when he was younger, he would have qualified for enjoying summer camp like other kids his age.”
In January, Chambers and his wife created a nonprofit called Constructing Community to build the new project, and got the go-ahead from Warners Bros. to build the Diagon Alley replica at Camp Korey.
They started the build in April, which consists of 14 shop exteriors — more than double what he had in his driveway in Ballard. They’re building out the shop interiors as well, and even constructing The Leaky Cauldron, with a real fireplace and rooms to sleep in, Chambers says. There will also be a Gringotts Bank Playhouse and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
“This version will be fully interactive with doors, windows and shop interiors,” Chambers says. “We built two massive buildings, both 12-feet-wide and 12-feet-tall, one 52-feet-long and the other 44-feet-long to house the new Diagon Alley experience. Each building will have two wheelchair-accessible entrances. In general the build is much larger in scale!”
The camp opens just a couple times a year to the public — the fall festival will provide visitors an opportunity to see a preview of the new Diagon Alley, as it’s still under construction.
Camp Korey’s fall festival is this coming Saturday, Oct. 20 from 11am to 4pm, and in addition to the Diagon Alley project, they’ll have tractor rides, a reptile show, a pumpkin patch, and more.
Chambers says they’re still looking for some volunteers to help out with the build — if you’re interested, contact Chambers through the Constructing Communities’ Facebook page.