Lift Ev’ry Cup of (Butter)beer

The night was warm and the beer was butter.

It was the return of The Party That Shall Not Be Named. I went with a friend to meet up with more friends in downtown Naperville, Illinois, where sixty businesses teamed up with the ring master—Anderson Bookshop—to throw the biggest party of the year around these parts. All to celebrate the release of this book:

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My copy. Wheee!!!

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The Party That Shall Not Be Named was a regular occurrence during the series’ heyday. On Saturday, there were Harry Potter-themed contests, plays, crafts, merchandise, and a ton of butterbeer. Check out this article in the Chicago Tribune or click here for more details about the festivities.

Several streets had been roped off and traffic diverted for this event. Thankfully, I only had to wait five minutes for a parking space!

To say there were thousands of people in attendance is an understatement. If you read the Tribune article, you know how many people were expected. By the way, that article provided old information about the number of books sold. By the end of Saturday, employees at Anderson had taken orders for well over 2,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I know, because a friend of mine had number 2073. I bought my copy at Barnes and Noble and was number 678 in line.

Actors stood in the windows of Anderson Bookshop and simulated the wizard cards you get in the Chocolate Frogs boxes. (Sorry about the quality of many of the photos in this post. I had to snap each photo quickly. We were on the move a lot. And there were so many people dashing in and out of the shots. Sometimes, I couldn’t move closer due to the size of the crowd.)

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After walking around a bit, we headed to the candy shop near Anderson, which had been turned into Honeydukes Sweet Shop (naturally).

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The line to get in was a block long, but we were willing to wait. This is where we purchased our butterbeer, which was part ice cream, part cream soda, and butterscotch flavoring. But I totally avoided Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, having ingested some pretty disgusting ones in the past (like the vomit one).

We then watched some live performances of scenes from the first seven books. Then after grabbing a snack at Jimmy John’s, we watched the judging of the costume contest for adults (the kids’ portion of the contest having been judged earlier in the day).

Jimmy John’s contribution to the cause:

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Some photos from the contest are below. Wish they were better! I failed to get a good photo of the winner: a woman in a Mad-Eye Moody costume. The crowd favorites (Moaning Myrtle [the person at the far right in the second photo below], Hagrid, and Voldemort) did not win, so the result was a bit controversial. Another crowd favorite was a couple who called themselves Expecto patronum (first photo, the people at the far right). The guy dressed as Harry Potter, while a woman dressed as Harry’s patronus had a white, filmy cord attached to her that led to “Harry’s” wand. If you know about the Patronus Charm from the Harry Potter books (particularly Prisoner of Azkaban), you’ll see immediately how clever that costume was. Most of the crowd expected them to win. But they came in second.

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I know there have been some awful things in the news lately. That’s why I loved seeing so many people rallied around something fun. Everywhere, people smiled and talked to one another, instead of gazing at their phones. While I stood in line in various places, I talked to a number of people, some with kids in tow. Kids and adults were in costume, making wands, answering trivia questions, drinking butterbeer, and cheerfully waiting till the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

I especially love that everything centered around a book everyone was eager to read. How wonderful for an author. But how wonderful for us too. We had a great time on a perfect summer night, a night for making memories. Now to avoid internet spoilers until I can finish the book!

Party flyer from visitnaperville.com.

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32 thoughts on “Lift Ev’ry Cup of (Butter)beer

  1. Wow! Naperville knows how to put on an HP party! There’s a Harry Potter festival in my part of Philadelphia every year. (One of the reasons I fell in love with it.) But I don’t think they go to quite the level as yours. So glad you could go there and disappear into the HPverse, even for a short time.

    • Naperville really gets into the swing of things because of Anderson. One of the people who worked there was one of the ones who really spread the news about Harry Potter in the early days. J. K. actually came here years ago. So we’re all Potter crazy here.

  2. How fun, fun, fun – and to think, I was in Naperville earlier in the day. I wish I had put two and two together, kept my free parking space in the garage just a block away from Anderson’s, and joined in the anticipation and party atmosphere. 2,000+ books! Who says books and bookstores are obsolete?
    Love the window/wizard cards and the costumes – wow!
    I think I’ll make some butter beer next time my grandnephews come over. The older one has devoured all the books and we chat a bit about them.
    This is such an antidote to all the nastiness and bad news swirling around us. I’m so glad you went and so glad you posted about it.

    • I wondered if you were around, Penny. Yes, the party was such a lovely antidote. I haven’t been able to bear looking at the news lately. I’m just glad to see so many people having a good time, without a cross word or violence!

    • It was a great time, Jill! I always enjoyed the parties in the past too. The fact that everyone was so excited over a book series written for kids warms my heart!

  3. What fun! And the butterbeer sounds yummy – I may have to brew some myself… We don’t have anything like that here, due to a distinct lack of bookshops in town, but the one shop that does stock a few books was always inundated with adult fans on new HP days, even though the cool kids all went to the big shops in Glasgow. I’ll be intrigued to know what you think of the book…

  4. I think I have come clean wth you in the past-I haven’t read or seen any Harry Potter? I knowI to,d you about the woman who was expecting the latest copy when I was a postman.

    • Yes! 🙂
      I know a lot of people who haven’t read Harry Potter and never will.
      So are you still away? I need to read your blog. Hopefully you’re finding inspiration.

      • I returned home last night. I had a stab at a few poems while I was away. I’ve got the nucleus of five to work on. I never know how they’re going to work out!

  5. I love the idea of people coming together for a book. Fantastic! Glad you had a good time on a summer evening. My grandchildren were big Harry Potter fans. They were just the right age when the first books came out. Now they’re both in college. On one vacation, my grandson brought videos of I think it was four Harry Potter movies for me to watch, so I could catch up on what I missed before the next movie came out. I enjoyed them, but it was too much all at once.

    I just emailed my grandchildren to see if they’re interested in this new book. I’ll report back.

    • Yes, I’ll be interested in their reaction. I hope they realize that this book is a play script, rather than a novel. A number of fans complained on Amazon and Twitter that the book was a play script. Never mind the fact that its being a play script was thoroughly announced.

      • I heard back from my grandchildren. Although they were very enthusiastic readers of Harry Potter, they never attended release parties. My granddaughter says she’s unlikely to read the new book (script). She’s heard it isn’t very good. My grandson says he’ll probably get around to reading it eventually. I guess their enthusiasm has cooled. They’re in the middle of new enthusiasms.

      • I enjoyed the book, despite the bad press it has received. I noticed a ton of criticism on Amazon, which mainly centered around the fact that the book was a play script, rather than a novel. Was it the best book I ever read? No. But it was entertaining.

  6. It is funny to see a lot of peole rushing for a Potterian book 🙂
    I wonder what the author can add to this beautiful story
    Do you read it ? Is it good ?
    In friendship
    Michel

      • I have to precise my thought . I learnt to love the books of Rowling ” Harry Potter ” . This writer has a powerful imagination and a huge coherence in the construction of an universe where we are caught.
        I had fear that a new book spoils the charm given by the story . I had fear to be deceived but I read a review of the new book . The review is good . I believe I will buy this new book in October when it will happen in France translated in French ( but I won’t not in line !! 🙂 )
        In friendship
        michel

  7. So glad you went and enjoyed the fun. We have yet to go to Universal to check out the Harry Potter stuff ~ Gringott’s, Butterbeer, Hogswart’s Express, Diagon Alley, etc. If only I could wave my magic wand or get my hands on some flue powder!

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