Before we go any further with this Harry Potter stuff, we're warning you that if you feed us red, onion-flavored jelly beans, we will hurt you. Saturday, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hits the shelves, leading to widespread revelry among the summer-vacation set. But the parties are on Friday night -- the kids just can't wait past 12:01 a.m.
In 2000, filmmaker Jeff Krulick (whose credits include the cult classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot) documented kids waiting to meet author J.K. Rowling, capturing fans like a boy who'd memorized the first chapter of the first book and a kid who called Harry Potter "a miracle" for getting her through summer camp among evil cabinmates.
Kids like these will enjoy Midnight Magic at Barnes & Noble locations (open till 1 a.m.), morning celebrations at Blue Valley Library and Oak Park Library in Overland Park, film-watching festivities at all Borders locations and a party from 9 p.m. to midnight at Blue Ridge Mall.-- Gina Kaufmann
Road Trip It
Mules are ideal riding companions for children. They're lower to the ground than horses, cheaper than ponies and generally too lethargic to do much bucking and kicking. And though mules have a reputation for refusing to move, there is no evidence to support the claim that horses are any more compliant. At any rate, the excitement of the Downtown Twilight Festival in Columbia should get them clopping. From 6 to 8 p.m., the festival offers children free rides through the streets of downtown atop those beloved donkey-horse hybrids. Kids can also get in on horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, sidewalk chalking, face painting, clowns and musicians. Meanwhile, parents can entertain themselves from 7 to 9 at the Twilight Concert Series, a showcase of bluegrass, rock, Latin music and more at the Courthouse Square. Admission is free. For more information, call 573-442-6816.-- Sarah Smarsh
Taste of Freedom
Women have Girls Night Out. Men have been helping themselves to nighttime escapism for so long that no similar term really exists for male gallivanting. But what about the children? Don't they deserve a break from casseroles and bedtimes? Kids Night Out at the YMCA is a lock-in for people between the ages of five and twelve who want a night away from ma and pa. The first-ever outdoor kids night offers swimming, gym activities, games and pizza from 7:15 to 10:45 p.m. at the Clay-Platte YMCA (1101 Northeast 47th Street). Admission costs $18 ($10 for members). Call 816-453-6600.-- Smarsh