Playtime: Celebrate Harry Potter with upcoming library events

A sorting hat ceremony at a past Sno-Isle Libraries event. (Photo courtesy Sno-Isle Libraries.

Last summer, we piled into the van and headed to the Granite Falls Library for Hogwarts Summer School. We ate snacks, watched a magician, and the kids made Harry Potter-themed crafts. Since it was about a 45-minute drive, we turned it into a bit of a day trip, stopping on the way home at Funko in Everett, which has a Harry Potter section. It was a free, fun event that also served as a good opportunity to wear our Potter gear, including a robe originally used for a Halloween costume.

Our road to becoming a family of four — at least partial — “Potterheads” had a bit of a false start after my husband and oldest read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together and didn’t move onto the second book after watching the movie. “Potterhead” is a term used for dedicated fans of the Harry Potter series. If you’re not sure if the term applies to you, turns out there are online quizzes to help you find the answer, down to the percentage. Once my youngest and I read the book together three years ago, we started a nice family tradition of listening to the books — CD audiobooks checked out from the Edmonds library — while driving to and from hockey practice, traveling to away games, and occasionally in the house when we pulled into the garage at crucial parts. We are about a quarter of the way through the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and pretty excited even though we all have a different set of spoilers we’ve picked up along the way.

The books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. The first book was published in 1997 and the last in 2007, and all these years later, “the boy who lived” is still incredibly popular. There are theme parks devoted to the story, two locations of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Warner Brothers Tour in London, and you can get Potter paraphernalia at the mall or even Target. Even as I type this, a commercial for the game “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” came on and a Harry Potter movie marathon is on another channel.

The reading room in the University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library is often compared to the Great Hall at Hogwarts. (Photo courtesy University of Washington)

Locally it is popular as well. In 2017, a dad in Ballard turned his driveway into Diagon Alley for Halloween, which drew crowds for months. The reading room in the Suzzallo library at UW is often compared to the Great Hall at Hogwarts. In fact, the UW library site says “Combine Hogwarts and silence and you have the Reading Room.” Front Street Grill on Whidbey Island holds events like the 21 and over “Dark Arts Dinner Party” or the family-friendly “Holiday at Hogwarts Dinner Party.” Searching local Potter-related events also showed that last year was the inaugural Wonderful Weekend of Wizardry, “an immersive festival,” in Tacoma, and per their website, they plan to repeat the weekend this year. I also saw that the Seattle Symphony will be accompanying “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” at Benaroya Hall July 12-14.

Just like last summer, Sno-Isle libraries is offering Harry Potter- themed events, but this year some are a little closer to home! The Edmonds Library is hosting all eight Harry Potter movies in order, Mondays at 1:30 p.m., starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on July 8 and finishing up with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on Aug. 26. All ages are welcome to Movie Mondays and refreshments will be provided.

A trip to shows other Sno-Isle events this summer, starting with Camp Hogwarts at the Snohomish library. On Wednesday July 31 (the 31st is Harry Potter’s birthday) from 2 to 4 p.m. you can “Celebrate the world of Harry Potter by taking a trip to Hogwarts for an afternoon of witchcraft and wizardry! Become sorted, learn magic, play Quidditch and so much more!” You can finish off your Camp Hogwarts experience with Magician Rick Anderson: Reading is Magic! from 4 to 5 p.m.

“Anderson’s entertaining magic show will both amaze and astound you,” the library notes.

The Granite Falls Library will hold Hogwarts Summer School on Saturday, Aug. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. They invite you to “Step into the magical world of Harry Potter and join us for a day full of enchanting activities at year 3 of Hogwarts Summer School.” This free event is for all ages, though they do ask you to preregister.

Closer in location, but further away on the calendar, the Brier Library is holding Wizarding Crafts and Challenges, Saturday, Oct. 19 from 2 to 3 p.m., “celebrating the world of Harry Potter with exciting crafts and games!” In addition, “Wizards and Witches” ages 5 and up will complete a challenge to free Brier library’s octopus. They also say those playing the video game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be able to “collect plants for your potions in our library greenhouse.”

Jen Marx

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

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