NORWALK, Conn. — As a huge Harry Potter fan, Norwalk Public Library’s Director of Youth Library Services Vicki Oatis always wanted to hold a midnight release party for a Harry Potter book.
Now, with the release of a manuscript based on a play of J.K. Rowling’s beloved series, her idea has become a reality.
On Saturday, she and her staff with host Harry Potter Midnight Release Party for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” from 10 p.m. to midnight.
It’s an event that has been weeks in the making, Oatis said.
“We’ve been hard at work for the last month really creating the whole world,” Oatis said. Her staff has run with the idea, even texting her ideas and suggestions when she was on vacation, Oatis said.
Visitors to the party will walk through Norwalk’s very own Platform 9 3/4 into what Oatis hopes will be a “magical experience for them.”
Attendees will have the chance to participate in activities including potting their own mandrake. “It will be a whole activity that they do,” Oatis said, adding that the library will even give participants earmuffs to protect them from the mandrake’s cry, which is fatal in the book series.
Harry Potter fans will also be able to enjoy edible potions and chocolate frogs. And, yes, the library will have its own version of butterbeer, Oatis said. They be able to get sorted by the sorting hat, take a photo as a wanted wizard and play a round of Quidditch.
Oatis said attendees can purchase copies of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” for $18 cash at the event. But she said attendees do not need to purchase the book to enjoy the event.
Attendees can borrow a limited number of copies, too, she said. And more copies will be available for library patrons to borrow on Monday after library staff has a chance to catalogue them.
Oatis said the party has already proved to be popular — 150 patrons have already RSVP’ed to the event. She expects more people to attend as the library did not require RSVPs for the party.
Oatis said interest in Harry Potter is strong, even though J.K. Rilling’s supposedly ended her original series with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in 2007. The library runs a popular Harry Potter dinner club for students in grades 5 through 8 and Potter, Pints and Pizza events for adult fans.
At the end of the day, Oatis said it’s hard for fans to resist Harry Potter and the lure of the new book — even though it’s not part of the original series. “There’s just nothing else like them,” Oatis said of the series. “I don’t think anyone wanted to let go of this magical world.”
The main library is located at 1 Belden Ave. in Norwalk.
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