South Carolina

Family turns backyard into Harry Potter world, uses it to help hurricane victims

This screenshot shows 6-year-old Vivienne Patsas-Nevitt and her mother Katherine in the recreation of an iconic Harry Potter scene built in their backyard.
This screenshot shows 6-year-old Vivienne Patsas-Nevitt and her mother Katherine in the recreation of an iconic Harry Potter scene built in their backyard. Facebook

Something magical happened for a little girl’s birthday.

Now, the Harry Potter-themed gift made for the 6-year-old continues to create something special, this time to make things better for those affected by Hurricane Florence.

It began when Vivienne Patsas-Nevitt told her parents she wanted a Harry Potter-themed party for her 6th birthday, WBAL-TV reported. Her parents delivered in a big way, turning the backyard of their Gambrills, Maryland home into something you’d expect to see on the set of one of the blockbuster Harry Potter movies, or something snatched from the pages of one of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books.

What do you do when your kids are big Harry Potter fans? You build them Diagon Alley, of course. Ollivanders, Flourish & Blotts, Madam Malkin’s and Mr. Mullpepper’s Apothecary – real shops that have working doors and windows. And yes, you can really, truly ‘buy’ wizarding supplies from inside!” Vivienne’s mother Katherine Patsas-Nevitt wrote on Facebook about recreating the iconic locations.

Katherine and husband and Matthew Nevitt built the fantastic world by recycling disposed items and trash, and did it at a pace that would make most contractor’s blush — four weeks in July and August, according to Katherine’s Facebook post.

“It’s amazing the things you can find from Craigslist free ads, Second Chance Baltimore, and Habitat for Humanity,” Katherine reported on Facebook. “It really is true, someone’s trash is another person’s treasure. We only spent money on nails, oops paint and a few hard to find wood trim pieces – less than $200 total on our Diagon Alley.”

The party was a success, according to Katherine, who said “we invited a ton of her friends and that was the best joy,” WBAL-TV reported.

Now the family is trying to spread that joy to those in need — victims of Hurricane Florence.

Effects of the devastating and deadly storm are still being felt in North Carolina and South Carolina, so the Maryland family is doing something to help.

The family is working with a professional photographer to do high-quality photo shoots for kids at the Harry Potter world they built on their property, according to WBAL-TV, which reported there is a $100 donation for the pictures “with all the money raised going to victims of the storm.”

“We have a friend who is actually from New Bern, North Carolina. She has a property in the Riverside community,” Katherine said, according to the TV station. “So she’s going to take all of the funds and any items donated physically down to New Bern and distribute it to her community which is under, I think, under four feet of water.”

In addition to sending money to help hurricane victims, Katherine reported she is literally opening her door to provide a special experience to those displaced by the storm.

“We thought it would be great to donate ... free sessions to families that evacuated North Carolina and are in our area, a pick me up during their time of need especially considering they likely won’t have any funds available to do family photos while repairing their damaged home,” she wrote in another Facebook post.

For those interested in visiting the family’s portal into the world of Harry Potter, they can contact them at Nevitt Creative.

Barnes & Noble hosted a release party for Harry Potter fans as they anxiously awaited the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

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