SINGAPORE - Eight-year-old Euwan Lorena stared intently at the many shelves of Harry Potter merchandise in Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Friday (Nov 16), unable to decide what he wanted.
Dressed in Gryffindor school robes from the popular book and movie series, the Primary 2 pupil finally decided on a stationery set with a Harry Potter-themed A4-sized notebook and pencils.
"He really loves Harry Potter," said the superfan's mother, recruitment consultant Athlea Lorena, 43, noting that Euwan has watched all the Potter movies. "He had a Harry Potter-themed birthday party last year so he got the robes then and has not stopped wearing it to parties since."
Euwan was among many Potter fans who were at T3 on Friday afternoon, eagerly awaiting the launch of the airport's A Wizarding World Holiday at Changi festivities.
It is the first such Harry Potter-themed event held outside the Universal Studios theme parks, as well as the first in an airport.
More than 200 people caught the light and snow show that launched the Potter event at T3, and some 50 eager fans waited in line to get into a recreation of Diagon Alley before it opened at 3.30pm.
Fans also thronged a pop-up store at T3 which was set up to sell Potter-themed products, such as tote bags, figurines, cushion covers, Lego sets and more.
Some people even turned up in Potter-inspired costumes, such as school robes from the series, to receive mystery gifts at the event's launch.
Besides Diagon Alley, other familiar locations and staples from the Potter series, such as the Hogwarts Express train and Hogsmeade Village, are recreated across four parts of Changi Airport from T1 to T3, offering many photo opportunities for visitors.
In the Diagon Alley set-up, visitors can try on wizard robes, give "spell-casting" a shot and toss Quaffle balls used in the fictional sport of Quidditch in the Potter universe.
The decorations and activities will be on at Changi Airport till mid-February next year.
Some fans at the Potter event on Friday were keen to return in the weeks to come. Educator Sally Sio, 41, was at the event with her 11-year-old daughter Belle Gan, who was dressed in wizard robes to catch the launch show and pick up some key chains from the Potter store.
"We rushed here today, and will have to rush off again for (Belle's) piano lesson. But we will come back again next week because we want to get the plushies," said Ms Sio.
Limited Potter-themed plushies, travel pillows and scarves are available for purchase after a minimum amount spent, with different plushie characters - such as Harry Potter and Ron Weasley - and scarf and pillow patterns available over the coming weeks.
As of 2pm on Friday, about 40 to 50 redemptions had been made for the limited items, a staff member said.
Children were not the only fans to drop by. Librarian Mindy Tan, 31, spent at least 15min at the pop-up store with her three colleagues deciding on what to buy. A fan since she was 13, she left with $120 worth of merchandise, including tote bags and luggage tags, which she described as "fan items that are also useful".
Her colleague Glynis Lee, 28, a public servant, spent $60 on a tote bag, luggage tag and collectible wand.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.