Cullman County Public Library sees huge turnout to celebrate ‘The Boy Who Lived’

Emilie Gutowski, who will be a fifth grader at Sacred Heart this fall, said of the party, "It's awesome! Probably the best thing that's ever happened at the library in my lifetime, and I've been coming here my whole life with my great-grandma." (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Inspired by one of the most popular book series of all time, the Cullman County Public Library held a birthday party for Harry Potter – not the series itself, but the actual character – Wednesday. Organizer Debra Reynolds said it was the first time the library has held such an event, but the party is likely to become an annual one based on Wednesday’s incredible turnout. Some librarians mentioned they were expecting between 20 and 30 visitors; more than 90 attended.

Dressed in magical costumes, children and adults alike took part in several games and activities ranging from word searches and Pin the Tail on Fluffy to board games like Ticket to Ride, Potion Explosion and Chinese checkers, feasted on birthday cake and Hogwarts House-themed snacks (Slytherin gummy snakes, Gryffindor grapes, Ravenclaw Rice Krispies treats and Hufflepuff cheese puffs), got sorted into their Houses by Reynolds and shared their love of the series with fellow fans.

One girl in attendance was happy to give The Tribune a few words about her time at the party.

“It’s awesome! Probably the best thing that’s ever happened at the library in my lifetime, and I’ve been coming here my whole life with my great-grandma,” said Emilie Gutowski, a soon-to-be fifth grader.

She was introduced to the series by her aunt and has been following it for about a year. She said she’s already looking forward to next year’s party.

The library’s common area was decorated with large cutouts of favorite characters, a replica trolley carrying luggage and a pet owl to Platform 9 3/4, a small tribute table to Albus Dumbledore and a center table towering with memorabilia from throughout the series. Signs for different Houses were also scattered about, and a birthday banner was strung across the front windows. Upon walking inside, visitors could sign a large birthday card, joining other characters from the series in wishing Harry Potter a happy birthday.

Reynolds said the party was a team effort between all the librarians – planning, decorating, bringing snacks and games and setting up. The celebration was meant to close out the month, as they celebrated the Harry Potter series all through July.

She commended everyone on the hard work that made the party as successful as it was, and said, “We will definitely be having more of these in the future.”

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Heather Mann