SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Sault Ste. Marie Canadian Cancer Society magically transformed a local event space into the Great Hogwarts Hall Saturday night as part of a fundraising initiative.

Around 400 people from the community came dressed up in their house robes, and some as characters from the popular Harry Potter books and movies.

One guest dressed up as Rubeus Hagrid alongside his wife who dressed as Molly Weasley, and his two young sons dressed as Harry Potter and Colin Creevey.

“Everybody can associate somehow with Harry Potter or magic. And it’s awfully fun to try to dress up and have a little fun, enjoy it, and just pretend for an evening,” he said.

A guest who is part the Hufflepuff House said she was impressed by the set up.

“The candlestick ceiling, that’s really cool. And the characters are doing a great job. The costumes are great, the tables are great, the colours. Everything has come together. It’s really cool to see it transformed,” she said.

Another Hufflepuff House member said, “I love Harry Potter and any chance to experience the Harry Potter world, I’m always up for it.”

Each year, the event is based around one of the Harry Potter books. This year it was the second one, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Megan Becker, the activities and decorations lead for the event, said throughout the night, guests take part in a big scavenger hunt where they start with an article, find clues, complete assignments and are eventually able to access the Chamber of Secrets.

“We have a number of different stations set up for classrooms to mimic what we have in the books and the movies. So, we have a potions classroom, a dark arts, herbology, we have divination set up,” said Becker.

But, this event isn’t just about the fun. Money raised from ticket sales and a silent auction goes toward the local Canadian Cancer Society.

Alyssa Garofalo Lake, the Community Fundraising Specialist for the Canadian Cancer Society, said the funds will be used for research, clinical trials and transportation for cancer patients.

“One in two people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. And that’s just an incredibly scary statistic. So, we want to reduce that and we want to make sure that every penny we raise is brought to our local office,” said Garofalo Lake.

Many who experienced an evening in Hogwarts said it’s a unique way to support a good cause.

The woman dressed as Molly Weasley said, “it’s a cause that is near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts. A lot of people have lost people to cancer... we have in our family.”

One guest dressed as Luna “Loony” Lovegood of the Ravenclaw House echoed this sentiment and said more support is necessary.

“I’m new to living up in the north and even just my minor interaction with health care up here is baffling and that support is definitely needed,” she said.

A Hufflepuff house member said, “I think it’s always important to support whatever you can in your community. And if you can do it in a fun way, that’s even better.”

Organizers said they are already planning for next year and are always looking for volunteers.

Tickets for next year will go on sale sometime in June 2020.