Hogwarts descends on county – Montevallo bookstore celebrates release

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Children and adults were treated with a rare glimpse into the world of Harry Potter complete with sorting by the sorting hat, potions classes, broom flying classes and wand waving lessons with all of the characters from the books including Harry, Hermoine, Ron, Moaning Myrtle, Hagrid, Professor McGonagall, Ollivander, Madam Hooch, Professor Snape, Dobby the house elf and even Headmaster Dumbledore.

The event, of course, was the Potter-fest held at Eclipse Coffee & Books in Montevallo.

It was, in reality, a giant release party for J.K. Rowling’s

sixth book in the series, &uot;Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince.&uot;

From a 20-foot Whomping Willow in the front yard to the moving painting in the hall, the bookstore was converted to a virtual Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry as those who wanted to get their hands on their own copy of Rowling’s latest effort waited for the magic hour, 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 16, when the book would go on sale.

Under the guidance of McGonagall (Eclipse owner Cheryl Patton), children signed in to enroll in class in a room filled with chocolate frogs and other treats.

They were next sorted by the sorting hat (Sam Barnett providing the voice) and given a crest for their house of the school.

Then it was off to wand waving class at Ollivander’s (Stephen Judd); care of magical creatures by Hagrid (Michael Patton); a potions class with Professor Snape (Lance Day); a flying class with Madam Hooch (Becky Cox-Rodgers of the Montevallo City Council); and finally received a certificate of completion from Dumbledor (Phil) Hurst).

Jamie Bennett played Harry; Moaning Myrtle was Kelly Olson; Ron was Emily Pykes; the moving portrait was Amanda Voss; Dobby was Ted Barnett; Hermione was Phoebe Hurst; and Tonks was Staci Price.

The evening came to a close with reading from the new book by a local radio personality.

There were also refreshments, an airbrush tattoo artist, a game called &uot;The Gathering Tournament,&uot; hosted by Qerks Comics and palm readings by Psychic Anna.

To add to the fun, there was locally handmade Harry Potter merchandise including wands, brooms, hats, invisibility cloaks and Harry Potter quilts and blankets.

Food included frog’s legs and other treats labeled Bat Wings, Cockroach Clusters and Dragon Snot Punch. And there were adult and soft potions.

Patton said she had 80 books for sale, which were reserved. And she thanked her loyal customers for buying from her as places like Wal-mart had the book on sale for a cheaper price.

Candice Griffin, a University of Montevallo student, was one of those who got her copy at Eclipse at midnight.

She said she has read all the Harry Potter books and was waiting on &uot;pins and needles&uot; for the latest book. She is also the proud owner of a baby dragon once owned by Hagrid.

Of course, her dragon is mechanical.

It spreads its wing, laughs when you tickle it and breathes fire with a bright light in its mouth.

Among others waiting in line for their copies of the book were Amy Feger, administrative assistant for the city of Montevallo, and UM History of Arts Professor Kelly Wacker.

The winner of the costume contest was Parker McLure, age 5, who dressed in a Hagrid costume. He is the son of Michelle Duran-McLure.

According to media reports, the latest Harry Potter book sold 6.9 million books in the U.S. on the first day of its release and 9 million in the U.S. and Britain