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Harry Potter and the Prerelease Madness: Washington Area Gets Ready for Harry’s Swan Song

Washington Muggles, take note: Something wickedly awesome this way comes as the area gets ready for the release of the seventh and final installment of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows won’t be released until midnight on Saturday, June 21, but events anticipating its arrival have already begun.

Last Wednesday’s film premiere of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix—which has already grossed a record $140 million—kicked off the Harry Potter mania. It continues with the “Harry Potter and the Silver Screen” series at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring; 301-495-6720).

Beginning today, the theater will be screening all previous four Harry Potter films—from The Sorcerer’s Stone to The Goblet of Fire—as part of a weeklong special engagement.

Starting at noon on Friday, the films will be shown back to back, leading up to a Grand Hallows Ball that evening. Organized by Borders bookstore, the event will transform Ellsworth Drive—a quick walk from the theater—into Diagon Alley, with local businesses such as McGinty’s Public House and Ben & Jerry’s doubling as shops from the books.

UPDATE: We just received an invitation to a cape-making party at Marimekko in Silver Spring. You can get a cape made to represent the Hogwarts house of your choosing. For event details, and to RSVP, click here.

The AFI Silver Theatre will also have back-to-back screenings on Saturday.

Other Harry Potter events in the area include midnight parties at these stores:

Olsson’s Books. At 9 PM on Friday, the Arlington-Courthouse (2111 Wilson Blvd.; 703-525-4227) and Old Town Alexandria (106 S. Union St.; 703-684-0077) locations will hold prerelease parties. Refreshments and games are promised, and wizardlike attire—for adults and kids—is highly encouraged. Free.

Barnes & Noble. In addition to hosting a Midnight Magic Party throughout most of its area stores (check for starting times), a live video stream of the New York City event will be available for online viewing.