Attention Muggles, squibs, and lovers of all things Hogwarts: In celebration of tomorrow's midnight release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth installment in the hit series, BookShop West Portal is going full Wizarding World. They'll be transforming the shop into a real-life version of Flourish and Blotts bookstore and the adjacent courtyard into a mini Diagon Alley, and several businesses around West Portal are getting in on the fun by hosting Potter-themed events and activities of their own.
"A team of us at the store have been working on this event for two months, and no one will ever know or believe how many hours we've put into it," says Susan Tunis, event coordinator for BookShop West Portal. "Let's just say that we've all come to embrace our inner Martha Stewarts."
Starting at 2pm tomorrow, the shop will host a number of events for fans, including a costume parade around the neighborhood (complete with a kids' costume contest), magical crafting, and the chance to meet a real owl, courtesy of the Randall Museum. Beginning at 8pm, they'll screen the Harry Potter film series, host a staged reading of the books with Word For Word Performing Arts Company, and test attendees' knowledge with a trivia contest.
All the excitement leads up to the 12am release of the new book. Customers who pre-order a copy will receive a 20 percent discount.
The fun is extending to several local businesses as well, including the West Portal branch of the SF Public Library. Papenhausen Hardware has created a greenscreen photo booth where kids can get a shot of themselves playing what looks like a pretty darn realistic game of Quidditch (pictured above). For another photo op, The Postal Chase has owls and Hogwarts banners in its windows, and there's going to be a hanging swarm of Hogwarts invitations swirling from the ceiling for photo ops.
Peet's Coffee is setting up a "brew your own" ice tea station and decorating latte foam with lightning bolts, and Simi's Bazaar will stand in for Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions, with wizarding attire in the window. And Chase Bank will become Gringotts Wizarding Bank—ask for a golden galleon, and you just might receive one.
"There's been a lot of crafting, collaboration, and creativity," says Tunis. "Personally, one of the most gratifying elements of this journey is seeing people from every walk of life light up at the mention of Harry Potter. It's the people you'd least expect!"
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