Arts & Culture News

Pottermania Immortalizes Harry Potter's Magical Birthday

With the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, steadily climbing the box office charts (earning more than $1 billion) and JK Rowling devising a virtual scavenger hunt for Pottermore, it's only right for Potterheads to go bat-shit crazy with excitement during Harry Potter's birthday.

This year was Potter's golden birthday (31-years-young.) Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Park pulled out all the Bertie Bott's Beans and Fizzing Whizbees it could find to honor The Chosen One.

Starbucks, located on the lower level of the bookstore, provided complimentary butterbeer, which was sadly non-alcoholic, so you could quench your thirst as you took a trip up the escalator to Platform 9 ¾.

Everywhere you looked -- from the wand-making station to the Divination table -- Potter fans crowded the room as if there was only one chocolate frog left for the masses.

Poster boards bearing a list of the Harry Potter books and characters stood proudly against an art easel as fans placed stickers next to their favorites.

Being his birthday, Harry Potter was awarded best character -- we would hope so -- although, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood placed second and third as Potterphiles left personal notes, declaring their love for these underdog heroes.

To no one's surprise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows took home the Wizarding Cup for the best book of the series.

In the midst of Hogwarts students posing for pictures, gold paper, white feathers and Styrofoam balls were being made into snitches for your next at-home Quidditch match. And Potter's birthday wasn't complete until everyone had a wand. Colored pipe cleaners - each representing a different core - were created into one-of-a-kind wands. You didn't even have to travel to Diagon Alley to Ollivander's Wand Shop.

The last leg of the celebration was a drawing. Attendees wrote their name on a piece of paper and put it in a box, so they could enter to win Harry Potter prizes.

While we all waited in anticipation, the Muggle version of O.W.L.s were passed out, ranging from "easy" to "extremely hard." Not wanting to be turned into a ferret by Mad-Eye Moody, everyone chose "extremely hard," which wasn't difficult at all if you've read all the books and seen all the movies. Questions included: Which spell is cast to repel water? What is it called when you disappear in one place and reappear in another? Something that sucks all the happiness out of you is called?

When the clock struck 3:30 p.m., the drawing winners were called. One received a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the other was awarded a Divination sticker kit.

As the posters came down and House-colored balloons were left behind, I noticed a Potterhead standing nearby wearing a shirt that proudly proclaimed the theme for Harry's birthday this year (and years to come as the legacy lives on): "Keep Calm and Potter On."

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