Muggles Battle Cancer with Dragons as Harry Potter continues to draw Utah crowds

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LeAnn Hunt
Caroline Felix poses for a picture with the Sorting Hat. (LeAnn Hunt)

Voldemort stood, wand in hand, at the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo, where brave wizards and witches gave up a dollar to pose with the infamous wizard.

“We are here to raise money for cancer,” said Voldemort, who refused to reveal his muggle identity.

“Muggles Battle Cancer with Dragons” is an annual event that donates all proceeds to the Tyler Robinson Foundation. The indie rock band Imagine Dragons and the Robinson family teamed up in 2013 to create the foundation to help families battle the unseen costs of cancer, according to the foundation’s website.

The Provo event occurs the week of Harry Potter’s birthday, July 31. Each year the community is invited to celebrate the “boy who lived” by running in a 5K race and participating in Potter themed activities. Participants last weekend braved the heat to join in the birthday bash.

“I went running at the 5K. It was really hot!” said young Anna Bristow, a first timer who ran with her father.  The race encouraged runners to wear costumes with a Harry Potter theme. Anna’s favorite part was people dressing up. Anna’s mother was a volunteer who helped with public relations for the event.

Mayra Felix, a mother with daughters who run cross country, said, “Our daughters ran in the 5K fundraiser and that’s what brought us here. We didn’t know that there was going to be so many other fun things to do. We have been enjoying watching the magic show and the bounce house. We bid on some things and won something.”

One of the many activity booths featured Harry Potter themed animals. “I have a red-tailed boa constrictor, bearded dragon, ferrets, and hissing cockroaches,” said Sarah Jacobsen with Wild Wonders, a rescue organization. Children lined up to donate a dollar to pet and take photographs with the animals.

Other activities included a search for horcruxes, wand-making, quidditch toss, and face painting.

Caroline Felix, who came to the event with her family said her favorite part of the evening was “casting a spell on Voldemort.” She tried on the sorting hat and posed for a photo wearing her new house scarf: Gryffindor!

The evening ended with a free outdoor showing of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

 The boy wizard’s continuing popularity among fans of all ages has sparked additional public events in Utah this year, including an outdoor showing of the film with live music from the Utah Symphony last month as part of the annual Deer Valley Music Festival’s Summer Concert Series. 

The symphony initially performed the music during two live film screenings last Christmas, and it proved to be so popular that a third performance was added in January.