Fans of all ages gathered at Sunworks and The Coconut Room to celebrate International Harry Potter Book Night recently.
“It’s the magic,” said Kathryn Harris, event organizer and the general manger of Sunworks. “People love the involvement with the story — no one has created a world to this extent in a book before.”
There were 13,200 parties held through the world in celebration of Harry Potter Book Night this year, according to the Bloomsbury Publishing web site. Red Deer was one of less than a dozen cities to host an event in Canada.
Harris and her team went all out creating a magical night for guests.
The space was elaborately decorated like a tavern in the Wizarding World and the movie soundtrack played in the background. They were serving hot mugs of butter beer, a favourite beverage in the stories. There was also a wand making station, wizard chess, a scavenger hunt and book reading.
Most of the attendants were dressed in their best robes, but those in muggle (non-magical) dress were welcome, too.
For 13-year-old Paige Kuipers, she came with her nana Angie Scott and both were impressed by the caliber of the event. “I think this is awesome,” said Scott. “She did the scavenger hunt, and it’s all so fun.”
Kuipers said she became a fan three years ago, after reading the books on a family road trip.
“I like to read and I’d already seen all the movies,” she said.
When Kuipers visited the Wizarding World in Orlando for her birthday two years ago, she suited up as a proud Gryffindor with robes, scarf and a wand.
She said her dad has even built her a four-poster bed like the ones in the dorms at Hogwarts and her nana is sewing a Harry Potter quilt and long curtains to complete the look.
Harris was motivated to put on events after not being able to find anywhere closer than Calgary to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first book’s release last summer. It was so well-received she decided to put on a weekend-long movie marathon that fall.
“Before it was even over, people were asking me when the next event was going to be,” Harris said.
She laughs that she is the, “Self-appointed Red Deer Minister of Magic.”
Harris hopes to make the Harry Potter-themed events a regular thing.