Online Staff Report
A new sport, straight out of children’s literature, is sweeping college campuses across the country and has landed in the Rockford region.
Quidditch, created by J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter children’s series, has traversed from fiction to reality and will hit the fields in Rockford. The Rockford region will host its first-ever Quidditch tournament April 26-27 on the Rockford Park District soccer fields by Elliot Golf Course.
According to the International Quidditch Association, the game was created by Middleburry College students in 2005 and quickly spread to other universities in New England and then across the United States. The sport now boasts more than 1,000 teams and is played on six different continents.
Some modifications have been made to accommodate the players’ lack of magical abilities. For example, brooms remain grounded and the yellow snitch has traded its wings for legs.
The Quidditch tournament is a direct result of Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (RACVB) strategic efforts to target non-traditional sports, according to RACVB President/CEO John Groh.
“The Rockford region has already made a name for itself in sports like soccer, softball and baseball,” Groh said. “Now, it’s time to grow by thinking outside the box. We’ve started attracting events like cheer, dance, table tennis, billiards, chess, lacrosse and now Quidditch. These types of events are a growing presence at national trade shows and open up entirely new markets for our community.”
Event organizers say they chose Rockford because they believe it will help them grow the sport and their tournament.
Shayla Johnson, the Illinois state Quidditch representative, said: “What really appealed to me about hosting a tournament here in Rockford was the possibility for future Quidditch growth in the area. Rockford has some great facilities like Sportscore One and Two, and they would be potentially perfect locations to host a larger-scale tournament in the future such as the Midwest Regionals or World Cup for Quidditch.
“Rockford is also centrally located, with easy access to hotels and other accommodations,” Johnson added. “This makes Rockford an ideal location to host a family event such as Quidditch, so that many people are able to come and be a part of it.”
The event will fill 200 hotel room nights and generate an estimated $36,000 for area businesses.
Posted April 24, 2013