Behind the Scenes at Party Central

harry.jpgI was lucky enough to be a fly on the wall — usually I just fly into the wall — last night when some of the movers and shakers got together to plan the biggest book bash in the history of Rice County. Or at least that’s my take. I’d be happy to be told of another instance in which the downtown community came together to celebrate a release of some hardbound pages.

There are things I don’t know (not a shock for those who have spent four seconds with me). But a few things I do. Among the ever-evolving details:

Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 20, those wishing to purchase copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may stop by River City Books and pick up a placeholder/ticket/thingy to reserve a place in line for the stroke-of-midnight release.

From 7 to 9 p.m., ArtOrg will show a video presentation of artist Mary GrandPré and her illustrations of the Harry Potter books.

At 8:30 p.m., there will be a surprise appearance by character of Hogwartian charms. The character is a surprise; the stage has already been rented. You’ll know where to go when you step onto Division Street near RCB, the Northfield Arts Guild and The Contented Cow.

harry1.jpgOf course, there will be a costume contest (9 p.m.) and I, for one, won’t want to miss that. (Yes, I can pass for Harry!)

From 9 to 10 p.m. The Cow will host a Potteresque open mike night. That is, you can come and read favorite passages from the book or, for that matter, any poetry or prose that is Potter-inspired.

At about 9:30 p.m., a Harry Potter movie will be projected outdoors on Division Street for all the world to see. For free.

Many other activities are not on a set schedule. For example, we know that Tiny’s will be out selling hotdogs. We know the friendly popcorn wagon folks will be open for business. There’s a better than good bet that an on-the-spot photographer will capture festive faces. J.K. Rowling will be reading aloud at River City. Wait. I just checked my notes on that. In fact, there will be an audio recording of Ms. Rowling. That’s different, but still good!

My sources are telling me that many downtown retailers are going to join in the festivities and stay open late. As plans come together, please pass details along to yours truly. I’ll offer a free “ad” in this space. Obviously, there will be more to say in the coming days and weeks and, as you can imagine, I won’t hesitate to speak.

For now, though, I’ll leave you with one word that I presume will whet your appetite for the special night that is just 31 days and counting (as you can see in the included photo; click to en large), away: butterbeer.

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