Seattle dad Jonathan Chambers might be a muggle, but he clearly knows a thing or two about conjuring magic.
Chambers, who has two young daughters, recently transformed his driveway into a life-size replica of Diagon Alley, the wizarding shopping street described in the Harry Potter books.
The spectacular re-creation, which took Chambers and dozens of local volunteers weeks to build, opened to the public on Halloween to great fanfare.
The installation will be open to visitors till after Christmas, reported Q13 News. All donations collected will go toward supporting pancreatic cancer research, Chambers said. His friend Matt Bencke, a Seattle tech entrepreneur, died in October from the disease.
Photos and video of the installation, located in the neighborhood of Ballard, show six “shops” squeezed into Chambers’ Diagon Alley. There’s Eeylops Owl Emporium, Ollivanders wand shop, Quality Quidditch Supplies, Magical Menagerie, Flourish and Blotts bookshop and Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions ― all names that will likely be familiar to Harry Potter fans.
The attention to detail is extraordinary. From creating intricate 3D-printed lanterns to hand-painted signs and even a Golden Snitch, Chambers said the project “took a lot of pre-planning and obsessing over all the details.”
“I did do quite a few drawings and a lot of research on each of the shops and the alley itself,” he told Mashable.
Chambers said he had long wanted to create something big for Halloween or Christmas in his driveway. But it was the younger of his two daughters, 7-year-old Avery, who first floated the Diagon Alley idea.
Chambers, who is currently between jobs and a fan of the Harry Potter franchise, said he became enamored of Avery’s vision. He invested $2,500 of his own money into the project and posted messages on social media seeking help from neighbors.
The response the Seattle tech scene veteran got, however, was beyond his wildest expectations.
He told KING-TV that about 50 volunteers helped and many donated supplies to the effort.
“It’s obviously gotten way bigger than I planned, ’cause the community came together [and] donated supplies,” he told KOMO News. “People are here all the time helping out.”
Chambers said he’s thrilled his project has brought the community together for a good cause ― and also injected life into his usually quiet residential street.
“During Halloween our street is pretty dead, nobody comes down here. This year, a lot of people are going to come down here,” he told KOMO before the official opening.
According to Chambers, more than 2,000 people visited the installation on its opening day.
“People were floored, elated and genuinely in awe of what we all created in the short period it was under construction,” Chambers told Mashable on Wednesday of the overwhelming response. “The number one comment I received last night was ‘Thank you for doing this for a community.’ It is a good news story in the middle of a lot of depressing ones currently.”
Scroll down to see more photos, videos and reactions to Seattle’s own Diagon Alley. To visit the installation for yourself, go to 7514 13th Ave. NW in Seattle.