So. Many. Wizards.
The Snohomish Library and Granite Falls Library have jointly celebrated Harry Potter’s birthday since 2017. Last year, Snohomish limited Camp Hogwarts registration to 60. It filled up in less than 24 hours.
Clearly, there was strong demand for more things from the land of Potter. Granite Falls Library Manager Michelle Callihan said their Hogwarts Summer School easily attracts more than 300 people.
This year, Snohomish followed the Granite Falls playbook and removed the registration cap. Camp Hogwarts was open to everyone.
It felt like everyone came. Long before the doors opened at 2 p.m., July 31, the library was packed. The line to get to the Sorting Hat and Ollivander’s Wand Shop, stretched past the holds racks inside the library. An hour later, the line wasn’t much shorter.
Around 3 p.m., children’s librarian and event organizer Shannon Horrocks counted 300 people still waiting inside the library for the Sorting Hat and Ollivander’s Wand Shop. And that was before she went outside to count many more dozens of campers making potions on the patio and out in the yard playing Quidditch, downing butter beer, learning herbology and answering Harry Potter trivia.
“We’re not sure of the exact number, but we think it was around 750,” Professor Horrocks said of the crowd.
Justin and Jessica May came to Camp Hogwarts from Mill Creek. They’ve been reading Harry Potter since Justin was in college, when they both had younger siblings. Now, they brought their six kids, ages 3 to 14.
“We’ve always enjoyed Harry Potter,” Justin said.
“We celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday every year,” Jessica said.
Oldest daughter Rochelle, 14, started reading the series seven years ago. “I like the whole story line. It’s relatable.”
Oldest son Lamar, 13, said he liked all of the “magical elements” in Harry Potter. “It’s fun to theorize about what there could be in the storyline,” he said.
Lilly, 10, and Oliver, 8, both love the magic in Harry Potter.
Hyrum, 5, reads with Dad. “I like when they teleport.”
Gideon, 3, clung to Dad’s leg, leery of speaking to a muggle reporter he didn’t know.
Waiting his turn to make a potion, Parker Kenniston, 7, of Lake Stevens proudly showed off his Ollivander’s wizard wand and his two missing front teeth.
What does he like about Harry Potter? “I like how he plays Quidditch and stuff. I like his bravery, too,” he said.
Out on the library’s lawn, kids lined up for Harry Potter trivia, learned herbology and quenched thirst and hunger at Honeydukes with Butter Beer and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.
“Oh! I want barf!” one young wizard screamed. Mom rolled her eyes.
Wizards tried their best at Quidditch but a steady breeze added a degree of difficulty to scoring strategies as balloons flew helter-skelter. Professor Kathy Smargiassi could only chuckle as she started each new game.
Back inside the library, 13-year-old Kaden Musser of Snohomish tracked down scavenger-hunt clues with other wizards. He came dressed as his favorite character, the clumsy but clever herbologist Neville Longbottom.
Kaden said he entered the Harry Potter universe by reading the back cover one of the books.
“It was really magical,” he said. So magical, apparently, that he read all eight books in the Harry Potter series in just one month. A month after that, he said, he finished all of the Harry Potter side stories.
Nearby, Assistant Library Manager Nate Cushman was already figuring out what things he and Professor Horrocks might want to tweak for Camp Hogwarts next year. He said he was glad to have so many wizards running in and out of the library.
“Too many is better than too few,” Cushman said. “It’s nice to see so many kids and age ranges doing so many activities.”