Are your robes ready to go? Get ready, Muggle friends, because Naperville transforms itself for The Party That Shall Not Be Named on July 29; just in time to celebrate Harry’s birthday on July 31. This is the second year for the event, and it’s back by popular demand, with this year marking the 20th anniversary of the release of the Harry Potter series.
Most events will take place between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the downtown Naperville area, though events at the Nichols Library (which transforms into Hogwarts for the day) begin at 9 a.m. At 8 p.m. in Central Park at 104 E. Benton, partygoers can enjoy a free showing of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on the big screen. Bring chairs and blankets!
It was a great event last year, but it did get crowded. Many businesses had offers “while supplies last” and they ran out. Our tip: get there early. Joining in the magical action early will lessen the chances of disappointment and increase the likelihood of your family proclaiming “mischief managed” at the end of the night.
There are a lot of activities taking place for all ages. Here are a few of our favorites:
Giant Wizards Chess for sixth graders through adults will take place in the Forbidden Forest outside Hogwarts (Nichols Library) at 200 W. Jefferson from 10-11 a.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m.
The Golden Snitch is yours to find at the Naperville Quidditch Company (Naperville Running Company) at 34 W. Jefferson.
The Azkaban prisoner photo booth is always a hit and fun for social media fans, or those wanting to mix up their holiday cards this year. Check it out at Flourish & Botts (=Anderson’s Bookshop) at 123 W. Jefferson.
Chocolate frogs, jelly slugs and other taste treats can be found at Honeyduke’s Sweetshop (Naper Nuts & Sweets) at 10 W. Jefferson.
Butterbeer is good. Butterbeer Crème Frappuccino is even better. Or try your luck with a Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Latte, which puts the flavor choice in the hands of your barista. You can purchase those delicious drinks at the The Coffee Cauldron (Starbucks Reserve Bar) at 203 W. Main.
Costumes are heartily encouraged, and there were some truly fantastic ones last year. Costumes contests are held throughout the event at the Main State at the intersection of Jackson and Eagle. The contest for kids ages 0-8 is at 3:45 p.m., ages 9-14 at 5 p.m., 15-18 at 5:30 p.m. and those 18 and older at 6:20 p.m.
Owls and more will mesmerize muggles at the Stillman Nature Center Raptor Show at the Main Stage at 4:25 p.m.
Trivia buffs will prove they are as knowledgeable as Hermione at various trivia contests around town, including at Madame Puddiefoot’s Tea Room (Adagio Teas) on 27 w. Jefferson at 3 p.m. (The library also has a trivia contest.)
Potions classes will be held at various locations as well, including in the lab at the DuPage Children’s Museum. Regular admission applies and once in, each guest will be sorted in a DCM house and invited to join in a search for Dobby’s sock and other items from the books.
Flying cars were tough to come by, so instead, free trolley rides will be offered around town from 3-7 p.m.
You can find more information, the full schedule and a map for The Party That Shall Not Be Named in Naperville here.