Harry Potter’s birthday at the Anza Valley Library

Harry Potter fans potted “Mandrake” roots at the Anza Valley Library’s Harry Potter birthday event Saturday, July 29. Diane Sieker photo

Magic wands, secret potions and all things Hogwarts, including every single book published in the series, were all part of the Harry Potter birthday celebration at the Anza Valley Library Saturday, July 29, from 10 a. m. to 2 p. m.

Librarians Doreen Nagle, Cindy Brenz, Chantel Yarrow and Tesse Benson organized the event, providing decorations, prizes, themed crafts projects and props, right down to a “slightly smooshed” pink Harry Potter birthday cake.

Over 20 children and their parents and guardians participated in the festivities. The children were sorted into the four “houses” of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; “Ravenclaw,” “Slytherin,” “Gryffindor” and “Hufflepuff.”

“It was amazing,” Connor Benson said.

“I thought I was actually a wizard,” Benson’s brother Carter said.

Lillian Eason had but one word to describe the day.

“Magical,” she said.

The fun was nonstop, featuring activities such as making a magic wand, attending Hogwarts classes, testing Potter knowledge with trivia questions and hearing a story from “Tales of Beetle the Bard,” another book by Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, a tome also mentioned in her fictitious Potter sagas.

“I was so excited to put this event on for our teens and tweens and the turnout was fantastic,” Librarian Tesse Benson said. “Everyone is already talking about next year and I can’t wait to make it bigger and better!”

Benson said that the library staff tried to focus on the literary aspects of Harry Potter.

“All of the trivia was based on the first book rather than the film, encouraging children to reach back into their memories for what they had read,” she explained. “And for those who hadn’t read the books, it highlighted the differences that can be found in the novels versus the movies.”

Excited Potter fans bounced from one activity to the next, anxious to participate in the fun. There were bubbling cauldrons of potions to which the children added “interesting” ingredients. They planted “Mandrake” (iris) bulbs in soil to take home. In the Potter series, Mandrake is a mystical plant that boasts magical powers. Magic wands abounded and miniature vials of “elixirs” were handed out as prizes.

The chocolate cake with pink frosting and like in the book, “Happee Birthdae Harry” lettered in green was presented and devoured by all those attending.

Even the bathroom mirror did not escape the Harry Potter influence. It was mysteriously marked with a cryptic message, “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir BEWARE!”

It was a day of make-believe, magic, fun and games, all possible due to the wonderful imaginative world of J. K. Rowling and her witches and wizards – with a little help from some inspired and innovative librarians.

The Anza Valley Library holds special events frequently. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/AnzaLibrary/ or call (951) 763-4216. The library is located at Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza.

The next library event is “Steam Works,” a puppet show telling the story of two bright young minds embarking on a fun and charming adventure as they strive to take top honors in the “Build a Better World Science Fair.” This is a debut of the first 3-D printed puppet character ever to perform in a live show. The show is sponsored by Anza Electric Cooperative, Inc. For more information about Steam Works, visit http://www.noteworthypuppets.com/.

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