JEFFERSON — A consultant was hired by organizers of the upcoming Warriors and Wizards Festival to address some of the Jefferson event’s logistical issues related to bus routes and crowd management in 2017.
Formerly the Harry Potter Festival USA, Warriors and Wizards is a three-day event in downtown Jefferson scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Oct. 19-21.
Organizers have described the multiple sites throughout the city as mini-theme parks.
Consultant Brad James said his goal was to have no more logistical problems in terms of shuttle buses and crowd management, recognizing that any theme park still has ride breakdowns and other challenges.
At the festival last year, he said, many people simply were not getting off the bus, instead riding it like a tour of the city.
To address concerns raised by attendees, organizers and city officials, James said, the bus routes were changed from full city routes to two point-to-point routes.
“Rather than have it be a full route, we’re running it point-to-point from the fairgrounds to the Jefferson Area Business Center,” he said.
Drop-off and pick-up will be in the back of the building in the cul-de-sac on Seifert Avenue.
The only other bus route will be from River’s Edge Market to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall Recreation Center. No public parking will be permitted at the VFW Hall parking lot, as it is designated for bus drop-off and pick-up.
As arranged, there will be security personnel on both ends, with buses emptying out upon arrival and then pulling forward to pick up the next round for the return trip.
James said a handicapped-accessible bus will be available as needed.
Also, starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct 19, the bus from Jefferson County Fair Park to downtown will be free for all participants, with or without a wristband, due to the parade route.
“Everybody will be able to park at the fairgrounds and they can get on the bus,” James said.
Otherwise, during the festival, participants need a wristband to get on the bus. James explained that VIP pass holders will have permission to go to the head of the line.
During the rest of the festival, crowd management staff will be present at the drop-off and pick-up points to ensure everyone has a wristband.
“There will be crowd management staff at every entrance and exit,” James said. “At anywhere that is considered an attraction, there will be crowd management.”
Last year, organizers faced challenges of participants being unsure whether they needed wristbands to attend certain attractions and a lack of security in checking those details.
James said their extensive planning has gone into taking care of last year’s problems.
There will be a control center for organizers to monitor crowd management, buses, production and overall facilities.
In 2017, he said, the festival did not have the communication tools built in for responding to problems. With the control center, everything constantly will be monitored.
“We will have park managers at every main location,” James said. “They basically will be managing a mini-theme park and if they have questions, they call into the control center.”
Similar to last year, primary parking for the event is at Jefferson County Fair Park at a cost of $5 per vehicle.
Numerous streets in the downtown district will be closed or be designated for no parking during the festival.
Temporary no-parking designations will be posted prior to the festival’s kickoff parade Friday, Oct. 19, starting at 4 p.m. and will include South Main Street from West Racine Street to East Dane Street, East Walworth Street from South Main Street to South Whitewater Avenue, and South Center Avenue from East Washington Street to East Dane Street. Upon conclusion of the parade, parking will be permitted on East Walworth Street and South Center Avenue.
No parking will be allowed at any time or roads will be closed on the following routes:
• Gardner Avenue from West Milwaukee to West Linden Drive.
• Both sides of West Milwaukee Street, from South Main Street to Gardner Avenue.
• The entire area of Riverside Alley under the West Racine Street bridge.
• Both sides of North Jackson Avenue, from West Racine Street to West Spangler Street.
• Both sides of South Main Street, from Racine Street to Dodge Street, which will be barricaded on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
• West Milwaukee Street from Seifert Avenue to Wisconsin Drive.
Also, intersections of South Main Street and Milwaukee Street and South Main Street and West Linden will be barricaded to allow for right-turn only movements onto or from side streets during festival hours.
Regular two-hour parking limits for the downtown business district, including in the city center parking lot, will be extended through the weekend.