Keeping the Magic Alive at the Red Rooster Coffee House
While many of you may have been attending all the exciting events on the East Coast surrounding the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere, the Red Rooster Coffee House in Aberdeen, South Dakota, was showing us that Potter fever is still alive and well even in the smallest of towns.
The Red Rooster held its second annual Harry Potter Party on Saturday, November 12, 2016. The event began at 7:30 p.m. CT and included wizarding snacks such as butterbeer, Pumpkin Pasties, Fizzing Whizbees, and pretzel wands. A trolley witch pushed around carts of sweets to everyone in attendance, and they even had a Gringotts Food Bank, where they had people bring food donations for the homeless shelter.
Guests were greeted at the door by the Sorting Hat, where they could sit and take the Pottermore quiz to be Sorted into their individual Houses. About an hour into the night, the event kicked off a game of Harry Potter Jeopardy!, where everyone who wanted to participate got a chance to show off their wizarding knowledge. Following Jeopardy!, they showed a series of fan-made versions of the Harry Potter films featuring local actors. There was also a craft table going all night for people to create their own wands and fantastic beasts!
The event drew a crowd of over 100 people of all ages, many of whom wore costumes. The small coffee house was filled with miniature Harrys and Hermiones, Death Eaters, and even a Dolores Umbridge!
Zion Cleberg, age 12, expressed her love for the series, saying,
I was introduced to Harry Potter by my mom when I was 6, probably, and I read all the books. It means a lot to me because I can always go back to that, and there is always going to be somebody else in the world who will like the series also, and there will always be somebody I can relate to. It’s just a really cool thing, and everyone who likes it is pretty much really nice.
Terra McQuillen, an English teacher at the local high school, also had high praises for the series.
I first got into Harry Potter when my mom brought home this trilogy of books for Christmas, I think in either 2000 or 2001, and said, ‘I heard about this on NPR, and I think that you absolutely have to read them.’ So I binge-read the first 3 and fell in love with them and then followed the series through. When I got into my English degree, I started analyzing it from an archetypal standpoint and looking at the heroes’ journeys and realizing that J.K. Rowling as a goddess in her own right. She is legitimately one of the most phenomenal writers, even in terms of classical literature.
And also realizing that Harry Potter is the myth of this generation that we really needed of someone who overcomes dark forces, even against great odds.
The Red Rooster has been dedicated to embracing everyone’s differences and accepting people for who they are for the past 20 years.
Dan Cleberg, one of the co-owners of the Red Rooster, told us,
My first memory of Harry Potter was religious people condemning the story as evil. I brought a friend who has disabilities to see Sorcerer’s Stone while we were on a visit to the Mayo Clinic to look into some serious health problems he was having. We saw nothing evil about it. There were many positive things in the story that we connected together on. Later, when my daughter started reading the series, I started to broaden my appreciation. Strong female characters, the value of sacrifice, love, loyalty, and the reality of death and loss are some of the themes that I was glad she was being exposed to. As she got older and became connected to others in fandoms, I saw the beauty of community around the love of these positive stories. I decided to help facilitate the warm, family-like vibe in fandoms like Harry Potter by starting a group called the Fandom Alliance that throws parties and hosts other fandom based projects and events.
The event was certainly one for the books. To check out the festivities, see the gallery below.