For Utah teens who are fans of the magical world of Harry Potter, the Salt Lake County Library Services is hosting its fifth annual Yule Ball on Friday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Viridian Events Center.
The Yule Ball is inspired by an event in the fourth book of the series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," in which the young students of Hogwarts must ask partners to accompany them to a formal dance during the Christmas holidays, resulting in a long night of awkwardness and teenage angst for some of the young witches and wizards.
Unlike the books, the event won’t involve forcing anyone to dance against their will, said David Woodruff, an event coordinator for the Viridian Event Center.
“All the activities will take place in completely separate rooms,” said Woodruff, “so if someone wants to come but they’re a little nervous about dancing, they can still enjoy everything else without ever setting foot on the dance floor.”
Some of the planned activities include House Sorting, live owls and costume contests. Additionally, this year’s Yule Ball will feature a new activity called “Quest for Magical Beasts.” Attendees will be able to use their phones to scan QR codes that will help them find various “magical beasts” hidden around the West Jordan Library, which is next door to the event center.
“We hope that the kids will learn about new technology as well as introduce them to different areas of the library that they might not be aware of,” said Woodruff.
Leslie Hutchings, a local 18-year-old, has attended the Yule Ball for years and wears costumes inspired by the Hogwarts students' robes. She says that she enjoys the live owls, the fortune-telling and of course the dancing.
“You meet a lot of people your own age with the same interests,” she said.
Those who attend the event will receive a small pack of Harry Potter trading cards, which they can use to break the ice with other partygoers and hopefully make some new friends through their trading, Woodruff said.
Since the last movie based on the seven-book series was in theaters, a stage play about Harry’s older years titled "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" has played in London and new details about the wizarding world in North America were released on J.K. Rowling's website pottermore.com. There has also been a recent film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which is set in the Harry Potter universe.
Parents who drop off their children are welcome to stay and wait for them inside the West Jordan Library, which will be open until 10 p.m., according to a news release.
The event, which is for those ages 12 to 19, is free, but tickets need to be reserved in advance online at viridiancenter.org/yuleball.
If you go ...
What: Salt Lake County Library's Yule Ball
When: Friday, Jan. 13, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Viridian Event Center, 8030 S. 1825 West, West Jordan
Note: Event is free; tickets need to be reserved in advance online at viridiancenter.org/yuleball.