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Cotsen presents Princyclopedia, March 31

The magical world of "Harry Potter" will come to life at "Princyclopedia 2007" presented by Cotsen Children's Library on Saturday, March 31, in Dillon Gymnasium. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

The interactive book convention centers on the popular series by J.K. Rowling about a boy with magical powers who inhabits a world known only to wizards. Princyclopedia will include demonstrations on how to mix potions and cast spells, a live owl show by the Raptor Trust and hands-on projects where children can make their own costumes.

Activities will be led by various University organizations, community groups and local businesses, including the Department of Chemistry, the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton Charter Club, the Princeton Public Library, Terhune Orchards and Whole Foods Market.

Dana Sheridan, education and outreach coordinator for Cotsen Children's Library, said she wanted to create an event geared toward children that would bring the University and Princeton community together. Her plan is for Princyclopedia to continue annually, with a different book celebrated each year.

"Princyclopedia is a great concept because it reaches so many people at once and it's also such fun for the kids," Sheridan said. "I would like it to become Cotsen's signature event -- where people look forward to seeing what book we'll bring alive the next year."

"Harry Potter" was chosen as the inaugural theme because the series appeals to readers of all ages and has elements of the humanities, arts and sciences, Sheridan said. The event will feature 30 convention tables, such as Olivander's Wand Shop staffed by members of the Arts Council of Princeton, potion-making classes led by the chemistry department and Gringotts Wizard Bank run by students dressed as goblins.

"At Princyclopedia, guests can visit the fanciful shops and attend the Hogwarts classes they read about in the books," Sheridan said. "Kids will be thrilled to learn that they can eat sweets from Honeydukes or go shopping at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes."

Other activities will include Quidditch practices sponsored by the YMCA and raffles to win baskets filled with candy, magic tricks and wizard gear. The first 222 children to arrive at Princyclopedia dressed in their finest wizard togs also will receive special prizes.

For more information and to view a full list of Princyclopedia participants, visit www.princeton.edu/princyclopedia or call Sheridan at (609) 258-2697.

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