Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Deirdre Parker Smith
Salisbury Post
Wipe off your wands.
Shine up your broom handles.
Harry Potter is coming to town. He will arrive Friday at midnight, sharp, at the Literary Bookpost in downtown Salisbury and at Books-A-Million in Salisbury Mall.
Deal Safrit, owner of Literary Bookpost, has already reserved about two-thirds of his supply, with a week to go. “I would suggest people go ahead and pre-order. … I might have a few to sell” on the spot,” he says, “but it all depends.”
Renee Bland, manager of Books-A-Million doesn’t know how many orders she has, but people who want a copy will have to buy a voucher in advance.
At the Bookpost, Friday’s events begin around 10:30. It’s Krazy Klearance night and Night Out on the Town, so the store will be open late anyway. But they’ll close around 9 to make the magical switcheroo to Potterland.
When they reopen, the festivities will begin.
At Books-A-Million, the mall will stay open late. People can buy vouchers for the books up until 9 p.m. Then their events will begin.
The Bookpost will have a costume contest with prizes in four age brackets, from the very young to adults. Lord Salisbury will be the judge. You can also sip butterbeer, nibble on cakes and get your face painted. Amy McCachren will do readings throughout the evening from several of the earlier books.
Safrit said all Potter buyers will get free books: novels for the adults and books selected by Frances Rash for the younger crowd. Contest winners will receive signed copies of books (sorry, not HP) Safrit picked up at national book shows.
Each “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” book comes with $5 gift certificate from the Bookpost and a chance to win a trip for four to London, along with $350 spending money, part of an Independent Booksellers promotion.
At Books-A-Million, people waiting for the witching hour can also have their faces painted. There will be trivia games, snacks and other activities for children, who are invited to dress as the characters in the book.
You must have a voucher to get a book. No walk-ins after 9 p.m. Buyers who have a Books-A-Million member card get a 40 percent discount; nonmembers get a 30 percent discount; memberships, which are $15 a year, are available when buying a voucher. The Concord Mills store has the same plan for its Harry Potter night.