By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Monday, July 31, the Gadsden Public Library was transfigured into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday. Library staff and attendees donned costumes of their favorite Harry Potter characters.
The all-day birthday celebrations included a visit to Olivander’s Wand Shop, where attendees could make their own wands. Gadsden Public Library Assistant Director Carol Wright said that the wand-making was popular with both kids and adults, stating that about 24 adults came through.
The wand shop was followed by a teen broom-racing contest, in which about 15 teenagers participated. After a short break, the broom sports continued with three non-flying Quidditch matches. To play, over 20 children used brooms to guide the Quaffle, or ball, into the goalposts. The winning team was awarded a golden Snitch, made from Ferrero Rocher candy with wings attached.
Attendees donned costumes of their favorite Harry Potter characters, including Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, a Death Eater, Nymphadora Tonks, Newt Scamander and more. A costume contest took place, with different age categories. About 15 children entered the contest.
Library staff and volunteers also got into the Harry Potter spirit donning costumes. Wright dressed as Professor Sybill Trelawney, the Hogwarts Divination teacher. Other staff members dressed as Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Beauxbatons student Fleur Delacour, Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange, Transfigurations Professor Minerva McGonagall and Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
Attendees did craft projects, played Harry Potter trivia and tried butterbeer, otherwise known as cream soda. To close the event, a birthday party was held to honor Harry Potter. The party even featured the iconic pink and green birthday cake that Hagrid gives Harry in the first book.
Although the library has held Harry Potter-themed events in the past, including a teen lock-in where Quidditch was played, this is the first time the library has hosted a birthday celebration that was open to all ages. The Harry Potter Birthday Celebration started as a teen event and snowballed into a much bigger all-day event.
Carol Wright said that it was a “good way to end the summer,” as children will be heading back to school on August 9.
The Gadsden Public Library held the event with a small budget, decorating with supplies that had been bought for the Christmas float in last year’s parade. Unfortunately the parade was canceled due to inclement weather. Despite the small budget, the Lena Martin Room was transformed with broomsticks, potions, a cauldron, a lamppost and more. The rest of the decorations were crafted by library staff. Wright said that the sticks used in the wand shop were procured from her own backyard.