Dover Public Library devotes day to Harry Potter

DOVER –– It’s time to dust off your wand and spell book –– Saturday is Harry Potter Day at the Dover Public Library, an event bringing the magic-centered book series to life.

When attendees arrive, they will first stop at the Sorting Hat, which will assign them to a house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry –– Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin.

The “houses” are in various spaces in the library and each has been decorated by library staff to live up to the characteristics of the house from the book — and the library staff is getting serious about decorating their houses.

“Everyone who works at the library really loves ‘Harry Potter’ so each house is trying to keep its decorations secret from the others so it will be a surprise on Saturday and I guess you could say there is a bit of competition to see whose house turns out the best,” said Katie Goff of the Dover Public Library, one of the event’s organizers.

Each student will receive a pennant representing their house –– crimson and gold featuring a lion for Gryffindor, yellow and black with a badger for Harry Potter flyer by . Hufflepuff, blue and bronze with an eagle for Ravenclaw and green and silver featuring a snake for Slytherin.

And of course since it’s Hogwarts, there are plenty of classes to attend like Potions and The Care of Magical Creatures, headed up by Abbott’s Mill Nature Center of Milford. The center will have animals in the “class” for attendees to meet and learn about.

A darkened Room of Requirement will be accessible for all to discover and practice their patronus charm –– a spell to conjure a spirit guardian –– to keep Dementors (dark, soul-devouring creatures) at bay.

“Since we live in the Muggle (non-magic) world, we’ll be using flashlights and paper cutouts to cast shadows on the walls and ceiling,” Ms. Goff said.

And the walls and ceilings of the library will be decorated to remind event-goers of the magical world they read about in the series.

In the Teen Loft, Kerri Hollyday, of the library staff, decorated some of the windows to look like what one would see when looking outside from a window at Hogwarts, including Harry flying past windows on his broom.

For those who wish to live a darker life, temporary Death Eater tattoos will be ready to stamp on evil doers’ forearms.

Also for those on the dark side, Knockturn Alley, a Rodeo Drive for the strange and unusual, will be laid out on the second floor, just across from Diagon Alley, another shopping district better suited for the mainstream witches and wizards.

And if you get hungry, plenty of snacks like chocolate frogs –– complete with wizard trading cards –– Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, butterbeer and hot chocolate will be available for purchase.

All the proceeds from sales go toward 2016 Comic Con, planned for the Dover Library on Aug. 6. The event attracted 7,500 people last year and the library is hoping for 10,000 this year.

Saturday’s event is a revamped version of a “Harry Potter” party held at the library back in 2014 after winning a 15th anniversary contest held by Scholastic.

“We had about 500 people come to the first event so we’re hoping to attract the same number if not more this time, especially since there’s a lot more to it this year,” Ms. Goff said.

Although there isn’t an official costume contest, attendees are encouraged to dress up in their Hogwarts uniforms or as their favorite “Harry Potter” character. Some of the staff and volunteers will be dressed as characters like Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Ms. Goff said. “Everyone here is a fan of ‘Harry Potter’ so even though it’s been a little stressful, it’s been a lot of fun to plan.”

Harry Potter Day kicks off the 2016 Winter Reading Challenge for teens and adults, which runs until March 12.

During the challenge, folks are encouraged to read and turn in a review for each book they read. The reviews enter the readers into a weekly raffle.

Saturday’s free Harry Potter Day runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library at 35 Loockerman Plaza

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