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Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

Sassafras staff dressed as Hogwarts students. Photo by Susanne Blumer, owner

Sassafras on Sutton, in Black Mountain, invites you to join its Harry Potter Birthday Celebration on Saturday, July 30. A full day of events takes place at the two-story shop filled with books, toys, gifts and an espresso café.

“We came up with the idea to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday simply because our whole staff has been fans of the series for years,” says the store’s general manager Kathleen Madden. “It was only natural that we celebrate in the most magical way we knew how.”

Activities include a Charms Class, led by one of the shop’s more experienced witches or wizards, teaching proper technique and pronunciation of both basic and advanced spell casting. The class is held outdoors to minimize any damage done by spells gone awry. A Sorting Ceremony, attended by Dumbledore, begins with prospective students filling out their applications. Each one is then called up by name and sorted in front of the group with the assistance of the ancient and intelligent sorting hat. Every sorted student receives a small gift.

Costume and trivia contests also include prizes for the winners and some runners-up. The costume contest is open to all ages and judged by crowd applause. Depending on attendance, it may be split into groups by age level. The day’s festivities end with the trivia contest. Teams of up to five witches and wizards answer questions through multiple rounds, ending with a multi-part bonus question.

“We’ve had children as young as one year old come dressed up with their parents, as well as parents and single adults well into their thirties and forties,” says Madden. “We encourage witches and wizards of all ages to attend!”

Refreshments including Butter Beer and House Color Changing Polyjuice will be available. Sassafras on Sutton will be decorated with house banners, floating candlesticks and other fantastical things. Though Potter’s birthday is July 31, the decision was made to move this year’s celebration to July 30, to allow more people to attend from out of town and stay for the entire event.

“It is the perfect time during summer break for people of all ages to come visit Black Mountain and join us for the party,” says Madden.

Sassafras on Sutton is located at 139 Cherry Street, in Black Mountain. Hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, from 12–5 p.m. Learn more at

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