The muggles and Harry Potter wannabees were out on King Street last Friday night as fans anxiously awaited the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowlings last book of the Harry Potter series. Potter fans were dressed up as their favorite characters to celebrate the event, which culminated a minute after midnight when the books hit the shelves in numerous bookstores.
Out in front of A Likely Story on King Street, Pottermania was in the air throughout the evening with trivia, costumes and a magician. Patrick Rizzi, 8, sporting a Potter cape, has watched his literary hero evolve through the years. Harry Potter has a personality that really helps his friends out, Patrick said. His little sister Anne, 5, had her own hero from the series. Hermione is neat because shes really tough she said.
Alexandria resident Rebecca Taylor, 11, was dressed up like a witch. Its really fun, she said. Another 11-year-old, Dan Evans, dominated the trivia table. When he gets the book, Ill just tear through it, he said.
Kelly Schuler brought her children Kate and Will to the book release event. Schuler felt the Potter series taught valuable reading skills as well as tweaking the imagination. It made good readers out of both my kids, she said. All the children in Schulers neighborhood gather to share stories on Harry. The whole neighborhood, they all discuss it, she said.
The magician grabbed a central spot on the sidewalk and performed cards tricks using trick magic wands. He worked some Harry Potter terminology, like the Nimbus 2000 Broomsticks tricks and the Golden Snitch, getting all the children that gathered around involved.
Im going to need a volunteer he said, before picking out a child named Ian. Youre going to do some magic right here. Just take this magic wand and just kind of wave it around, and magically the wand turned out to be rubber, getting a roar of laughter out of the group. The magic words are shacka lacka boom boom, he said, and the kids repeated it.
A Likely Story employee, Megan Graves from Alexandria, had a list of 100 trivia questions. Various people at the table were yelling out the answers just as the question rolled off Graves tongue. Theyre pretty much experts on the books, she said Weve been planning since January. We started taking orders in March, Graves added.
Inside, Dinah Paul, manager and owner of A Likely Story, had the store divided into houses that those in the Harry Potter world recognized. Boxes full of Deathly Hallows books were scattered throughout. We actually started really having parties of this size at the fourth book, she said. Paul knows the event is a hit because she sees smiles up and down the kids faces everywhere.
There was a countdown at midnight and the first books were pulled out of the boxes at 12:01. At 12:23, everybody was out of the store, said staff member Patrick Hunter. Each book was $36.75 and a few remained at the store on Saturday morning, but they were spoken for. A Likely Story expected another shipment on Tuesday.