What to Expect at the Yule Ball This Weekend

Shall we dance?

Think of the Yule Ball – back for its fifth year Jan. 14-15 – as one big dance party, albeit one inspired by the world of wizardry brought to life in the Harry Potter books.

“Over the years, it has developed its own moniker, ‘adult wizard prom,’” says Lisa Romella, co-owner of Awkward Nerd Events, the ball’s creator. The Turner Hall Ballroom is transformed into a holiday winter ball decorated in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry style, with attendees encouraged to wear fancy dress or cosplay attire. The cocktails are themed, too, including Unicorn Blood and Butterbeer.

The Yule Ball brings the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter to Milwaukee (2020); Photo courtesy of Awkward Nerd Events



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Friday evening starts off with a string quartet and waltz instructions by teachers from Fred Astaire Dance Studios, followed by a “champion’s waltz.” New this year, Friday is also Pride Night, with themed drag performances. Tips made by the drag queens will be matched by Awkward Nerd Events and donated to Trans Lifeline, a nonprofit hotline supporting transgender people.

The second night features the first-ever Triwizard Tournament, where attendees can purchase a $20 ticket to take up their wands in a magical competition.

“It’s a spectacle, to be sure,” Romella says. “I love standing up on the balcony and watching people stream in.”


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s January issue.

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