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Library celebrates 20 years of Harry Potter with magical CONjuration event

Harry Potter fans can honor two decades of literature about the bespectacled wizard at a magical celebration Saturday.

CONjuration, Atlanta’s nationally recognized immersive fantasy and Harry Potter convention, will transform the Cartersville Public Library into a world of magic during Magical Library Day from noon to 4 p.m. in honor of the literary milestone.

“This year is the 20th anniversary of the release date for the first Harry Potter book, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,’ so we wanted to do something to celebrate that,” Youth Services Coordinator Thomas Shalin said. “We heard about the CONjuration Harry Potter and Magical Fantasy Convention and thought they might want to come up to Bartow County and promote their big event happening the first week in November. The library will be even more a magical place than usual, thanks to our friends at CONjuration.”

Shalin said he sent an email via CONjuration’s website to ask about the possibility of doing an event at the library at 429 W. Main St.

“Initially, I imagined it being a presentation from them, something like we had done in the past when we had the Dragon Con folks at the library, but after a few emails back and forth, it grew into the fantastic event it is now,” he said. “Almost every room in the library will have something magical happening in it. The program is a smaller version of what CONjuration does and is, and it highlights some of the great things you can do if you travel to Atlanta to the big CONjuration event in November.”

CONjuration Co-Founder/Headmistress Angela Seckinger said she and her husband, Co-Founder/Headmaster Chris Seckinger, were “thrilled” to have the opportunity to stage a “type of mini-convention at the Cartersville Library.”

“We are always eager to share our most popular magical experiences with the public,” she said. “We view this event as a perfect pairing of literature and the celebration of the educational and artistic opportunities derived from literature.”

Seckinger said CONjuration is “predominantly a literary convention — showcasing over 20 authors annually, sharing writing tips and even creating new authors.”

“To round out the weekend experience, we also delve into the magical world of storytelling, imagination and live-action participation,” she said. “Meanwhile, the library is also the beginning of one's journey into magical realms. What a perfect pairing.”

Shalin said the library has hosted Harry Potter and fantasy programs over the years, “including a Triwizard Tournament and a Hogwarts intramurals program.”

“[Saturday’s event] won’t be like this though,” he said. “The CONjuration folks will take everything to another programming level. We are very excited.”

Featured at the free event, which is for all ages, will be all kinds of magical activities, including a live version of the Harry Potter game, Qudditch, on the library lawn as well as a table-top version, live-action Wizard Chess,  Harry Potter-themed crafts, inflatables, fantasy cosplay, a photo booth, Harry Potter storytime and a CONjuration table with convention information.

There also will be a costume contest for kids and adults who want to come dressed as their favorite Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or other fantasy characters.

“If you are wondering how we play Quidditch on the ground, this is your opportunity,” Seckinger said. “If you would like to be a playing piece in a live-action chess game, this is your chance. We will also offer arts and crafts for take-home items that celebrate magical fantasy themes. There will also be some opportunities to see or learn about magic. We have trivia and panel discussions planned. The Georgia Reptile Society will be there with several live reptiles that you can learn more about or even touch. In addition, there will be a full-time board-gaming room set up with a huge library of games available for you to play.”

Lovers of magic and fantasy are invited to drop in any time during the four-hour event and stay as long as they’d like, Shalin said.

“Some things, like Quidditch, will have limited time slots so it is best to show up earlier,” he said. “The first Quidditch time slot will be at 12:30 [p.m.] and the second at 2:30.”

He also said the Harry Potter trivia game will start at 1 p.m., and the costume contest will begin at 3 p.m.

Because there are Harry Potter and fantasy fans of all ages, Shalin is hoping for a “super turnout” at Magical Library Day.

For more information about the event or CONjuration, call 770-382-4203, ext. 136, or visit www.bartowlibraryonline.org or www.conjurationcon.com.

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