The Ohio University Harry Potter Alliance is mixing magic and masks this weekend for its third annual charitable Yule Ball.

The yearly dance will feature enchanting style, snacks and dancing with a masquerade theme Friday night. For the first time, it will be held in Baker Center Ballroom, and proceeds from the event will benefit causes both in Athens and outside of Ohio.

Each year, the Harry Potter Alliance donates its Yule Ball earnings to two charities. In the past, selected charities have ranged from the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to the Athens County Child Advocacy Center. This year, the student organization plans to contribute to a hurricane relief fund and the Southeast Ohio Foodbank.

If you go:

What: .The Yule Ball: A Masquerade to Benefit Charity

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Baker Center Ballroom

Admission: $15 single ticket, $25 couples ticket

OU Harry Potter Alliance vice president Alexis Bennett is heading the preparations for the Yule Ball. She has been involved in the planning process for each ball and has seen its evolution over time. This year, she is excited to move the event from Central Venue to Baker Center, which she said will make it more accessible to students.

Bennett, a junior studying English and world religions, said the club discussed the theme of this year’s dance at length. Members wondered if simply making the ball Harry Potter-themed would be enough, but ultimately they decided on a masquerade.

There will be masks available at the event to purchase for a small donation, or attendees can bring their own if they choose. But the ball does not have a specific dress code, masks included.

“We think it’s cute and we encourage it, but our tagline has always been, ‘Wear whatever makes you feel magical,’” Bennett said. “It’s a good opportunity to just kind of wear whatever you want in a very comfortable, very safe environment and to just enjoy the evening.”

Although the ball will be themed this year, the club wanted to make sure there was still a clear Harry Potter element to it as well. Dayna White, a junior studying electrical engineering, is on the decoration committee for the ball and has been working hard to create magical crafts like Howlers and a Whomping Willow, for which she is especially excited.

“It’s a big centerpiece for the room and I think that’s going to be the most interesting thing to see,” White said.

Aliza Ali, a senior studying world religions and biological sciences, founded the OU Harry Potter Alliance and initiated the first Yule Ball. Although she is taking a step back from being in charge of the event this year, she is still involved as co-head of the music and entertainment committee.

The entertainment committee, Ali said, works on providing other activities for ball attendees to do in addition to dancing. This year, there will be darts and Jenga to play and a large, museum-style display of hand-decorated wands to view. Attendees can even add their own wands to the collection which will be silent auctioned at the end of the evening.

Ali said she is proud of all of the club’s hard work that has made the ball a success both in the past and thinks it will succeed again this year. It was not easy to effectively blend both the Harry Potter and masquerade themes while also creating a sophisticated college-level event, but Ali said she is very excited about the results.

“I think my favorite thing about the Yule Ball is I didn’t think after high school was over I would get a chance to dress up homecoming-style and just be with my friends and have fun,” she said. “My favorite thing is just that aspect of getting ready and feeling good and being with my friends in that setting.”


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