Lots of fun at Grand Hallows Ball at Borders

July 24, 2007|By SARA MARTENS

Saturday, July 21, was a major event in today's society. It was the release of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

But for Harry Potter fans, the book release began at a book-release party the evening before at a bookstore or library. I attended Borders Grand Hallows Ball. The event began at 9 p.m. Friday, although fans began arriving hours before. The party had a great turnout with many in costume or ball attire.

Upon arrival, those who had ordered their books in advance checked in at registration to receive a color-coded wristband which determined the order in which they would receive their books. Wristbands were available all day Friday, although many waited until arrival to the ball to get theirs. Each person also received a raffle ticket for each book they preordered and a schedule of the night's events.

Although there were many events through the evening, many people simply took advantage of Borders remaining open late into the night. Others socialized with friends and fellow Potter fans.


The evening officially began with a reading from the first Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone." Readings from all six books were spread out throughout the evening. Then at 9:45 p.m., fans competed in a Harry Potter Trivia Bee at three difficulty levels - beginner, intermediate, and advanced - to earn additional raffle tickles. At 10:30 p.m., the Great Snape Debate began, giving fans an opportunity to express their opinion on the topic of Professor Snape, who, in the book series, usually teaches potion-making at Harry Potter's school.

The next major event was a costume competition. A myriad of characters came to life, some more realistic than others. There were lots of Hermiones, several Tonkses (most of which actually dyed their hair purple; now that's commitment) and many Harrys.

There were also less well-known characters - Professor Trelawney, Mrs. Weasley, Mad-Eye Moody, Fluffy and a house elf. The winner was an adorable baby dressed as Hedwig, Harry's messenger owl.

Then at 11:40 p.m., raffle winners were drawn for an autographed Harry Potter poster and the opportunity to be the first in line to get their copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." The first-in-line winner was followed by five winners of a radio contest through 106.9 the Eagle and then the first 50 to claim their wristbands.

And thus the line began. Fans snaked and wound their way to the back of the store to get the book and then continued in line to the front of the store to pay. Nearly every person in line was reading their book as they stood in line waiting to pay. Shortly after the line began, an announcement was made asking readers not to reveal anything to others.

The night proceeded slowly, as hundreds of fans waited for their books. People who weren't in line talked with friends until it was their turn to queue up. Only after all pre-orders were handed out were those who did not order ahead allowed to get in line.

At last, at 2:26 a.m., the final customers were courteously escorted to the door as Borders employees celebrated the end of the line. By 2:30 a.m., the doors were securely locked and the event officially ended. So a fun-filled evening came to a close.

And the all-night reading began.

The Herald-Mail Articles