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Enchanting Yule Ball Delights Harry Potter Fans

Jan 28, 2016 02:17PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]

West Jordan - Witches, wizards and teen muggles gathered together to celebrate Yule, Harry Potter style, at the West Jordan Viridian Event Center, Jan. 15. They were attired in both formal wear and cosplay to enjoy the evening from 6-10 p.m.

Salt Lake County Library Services and Utah Humanities, in partnership with Salt Lake City Steamfest, Winter Faire, Geek Magazine and the Rocky Mountain Muggles provided this free event for teens ages 12-19.  It provided Harry Potter fans an opportunity to participate in themed activities and classes, performances, visit Diagon Alley and dance to a live DJ. 

“I found out about this event from my library in Herriman. It is awesome. I wasn’t expecting this. My favorite thing was seeing the characters,” Miles Davis, a teen at the event, said.

Carrie Rogers-Whitehead was in charge of the event the event.  Together with the teen advisory board, they started planning the Yule Ball back in October. 

“A lot of the work comes from the teens whom help plan it. It’s their event. We have a beautiful space here at the Viridian, so that helps a lot with the cost. This year, Utah Humanities are sponsoring us and Spy Hop is doing our Horcrux signs. We also have Geek Magazine and others here promoting our event such as The Salt Lake County Library Services. We also have, coming up, two more big teen events: ToshoCON (teen Anime) July 29-30,  and Hackathon on Mar. 29 (a STEM event/ tech fair) sponsored by Google Fiber,” she said.

Parents were invited to use the library after hours while their teens enjoyed a magical night out with music, dancing, costumes, games, prop photo opportunities and hanging out with their favorite Harry Potter characters.  They were engaged in creating crafts, visiting with Shadow, a great horned owl and Marshmallow, a barn owl.

“This event is really cool. It is over the top and realistic. We just finished a scavenger hunt and when we came in they sorted us into houses. They have a class schedule. I’m excited –  I can’t wait to learn all this magic,” Brooklin Haight said. 

Learning magic was easy with that night with “Defense against the Dark Arts” classes including, “The History of Magic.” Teens could also learn to make a potion with university students and professors from Westminster College who were there demonstrating experiments and guiding them. Some of the potions available for the students to concoct were “Summoning a Shriek,” “Call of the Serpent,” “Transfiguring Ink,” “Snape Slime” and “Exploring Elixir.” A Westminster student, Asylbek Zhamserkeev, (acting as a wizard professor), made various potions that produced a chemical reaction. He is part of this chemistry college club that travels around to events with their professors.  

For the not weak at heart, the “Care of Magical Creatures Class” included handling snakes, lizards, tarantulas and other magical creatures provided by Skymasters Wildlife Foundation. Divination classes included getting a taro card or palm reading provided by Andrea and Pegasus Rasband. 

“What I’m doing here is helping all the beautiful kids here tonight find out a little bit about their future. Whatever comes up for that person, I use the cards that work,” Pegasus said. 

Teens from a Provo team were competing in a house event of Quittich and there was a tasting of butter-beer for refreshment. “Dark Lord Funk” provided a special musical presentation in the dancing hall. On one end of it was a special “Forest of Dean” display of white lights on artificial evergreen trees and white lit deer. On there other end was a stage and huge screen set up displaying teens dancing, projected from a roving cameraman.

True to life, Harry Potter characters, from the Rocky Mountain Muggles group, were there to mingle, add to the atmosphere and provide photo-ops for the teens.  Eric Allan Hall came dressed up as Remis Lupin and John Robison as Mad-Eyed Moody.  David Bird, a librarian for Salt Lake County Library, operator of Geeked Out Events and president of Rocky Mountain Muggles came dressed as a death eater. 

“We are helping out the library at this event. We are a charity costume club.  We dress up for non-profit events, like this one or a Make-A-Wish event coming up. We try to bring the magic of Harry Potter into people’s lives.  We have been here for each of the four years of this event,” he said.

With over 1500 estimated teens in attendance, it was a considered very successful event by organizers and they plan on holding it again next year.