Just like, oh, perhaps a few hundred million other people, I have long dreamed of waking up to a snowy owl tap-tap-tapping it’s beak on my window, waiting to give me a letter with these magical words inside:
“We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
So far, no letter for me. But thanks to the Lawrence Public Library’s annual Harry Potter Book Night—which is this Thursday at Abe and Jake’s from 6-8 p.m.—I can still pretend that I’m about to catch the Hogwarts’ Express and ride it off to wizarding school.
“Harry Potter Book Night is an international event that Bloomsbury—the publisher of Harry Potter—has put together. It happens all over the UK and all over the world,” Karen Allen, the event organizer from the Lawrence Public Library, said. “This is the fifth year for the event, both internationally and in Lawrence.”
But even though Harry Potter Book Night happens all over the world, only in Lawrence is it headlined by the famous wizard rock band, “Harry and the Potters”.
“Harry and the Potters” began in 2002, when brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge asked themselves what would happen if Harry Potter quit the quidditch team, stole a time turner, and started a punk rock band with himself from an earlier point in the space-time continuum?
Their answer was “Harry and the Potters”.
Paul plays Harry from Year 7, Joe plays Harry from Year 4, and together they have become legendary within the Harry Potter fandom for setting songs like “Save Ginny Weasley”, “My Teacher is a Werewolf”, and “Accio Hagrid” to punk rock rhythms. (They’re also co-founders of the Harry Potter Alliance, a non-profit organization that helps turn the social justice issues in the Harry Potter books into real-world, positive change. Now that’s magical, indeed!)
As a co-owner of Wonder Fair, Paul is a local—lucky us!—and, as such, this is the band’s second year to play at the Lawrence event.
While the wizard rock alone is worth pulling out your “Gryffindor Seeker” t-shirt and your sorting hat, Harry Potter Book Night will also have enough crafts, activities, and shops to make you feel like you’ve stumbled into the wizarding village of Hogsmeade.
“Downstairs will be completely free, except for the bar. We’ll have a new wand craft this year. Eileen’s will be giving away free cookies. We’ll have a face painter and divination, and LOL (Laugh Out Loud) will be there with an obstacle course,” Allen said.
Upstairs, several local businesses will set up shop, doing business under the names of their magical counterparts. For example, you can get your pens and parchment at Scribbulus Writing Implements (Wonder Fair), and Flourish and Blots (Friends of the Library) will be selling used books. Brits and Mass Street Soda will also be there selling goodies, so be sure to tuck a little muggle money into your robes if you want to shop and snack.
Whether you’re a small witch or wizard, or old enough to be a Hogwarts professor, Harry Potter Book Night is an evening of magical fun you won’t want to miss!
Harry Potter Book Night is from 6-8 p.m. at Abe and Jake’s Landing, Thursday, February 7th. This year’s sponsors include Ranjbar Orthodontics, Abe and Jake’s, and Downtown Lawrence Inc.
A proud Lawrence transplant, Meryl Carver-Allmond lives in a hundred-year-old house with her sweet husband, two darling kiddos, one puppy, one gecko, and an ever rotating flock of poultry. By day, she’s a public defender. By night, she writes, takes photos, knits, and cooks up a storm. She chronicles her adventures on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth.