The International Quidditch Association kicked off World Cup VII in North Myrtle Beach with the opening ceremonies beginning just after 8 a.m. at the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex.
Prior to the ceremonies, teams and players gathered beneath the rising sun in anticipation. Finally, at ten minutes past 8 a.m., IQA Commissioner Alex Benepe began the procession, marching triumphantly around the pitch as the North Myrtle Beach Middle School jazz band pumped up the crowd with favorites such as the “Rocky” theme song. The enormous snitch corps followed Benepe, followed by the University of Sydney, the five Canadian participants and the 74-team, flag-waving American delegation with the defending champions from the University of Texas-Austin rounding out the procession. The snitches and teams then took their seats to witness the remainder of the festivities as snitches raced around the pitch carrying regional flags.
Tournament Director Sarah Woolsey next welcomed everyone to the World Cup and introduced North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, who enthusiastically greeted the teams. Then, IQA Commissioner Alex Benepe addressed those gathered, reminiscing about the first three IQA World Cups at Middlebury College. Benepe referenced the advancements in referee training and gameplay, before speaking about the spirit of the quidditch community. He argued that in the past year, quidditch has become more widely accepted and known because of the efforts of the quidditch community.
Benepe thanked the IQA volunteers and the City of North Myrtle Beach and declared “may the best team win the seventh annual Quidditch World Cup.”
IQA Gameplay Director Will Hack next took the microphone, recognizing Gameplay volunteers, including snitches and referees.
The Australian and Canadian national anthems were played and then IQA PR manager Nick Candido was introduced to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As players and spectators joined in, the lyrics of the American national anthem reverberated around the fields.