BY ERIKA NORTON

Witches and wizards from all over the tri-state area are coming to downtown Newton for a special Harry Potter-inspired Small Business Saturday.

On Saturday, Nov. 25, the shops and restaurants on Spring Street will magically transform into those from Diagon Alley, kicking off the holiday shopping season with enchanting giveaways, sales, deals and activities.

Organized by Spring Street Merchants Circle, a collective made up of four Newton businesses, upwards of 30 shops and stores within Newton's main business district will be participating in the event.

Ryan Stapel, an organizer of the event and owner of ReCollectables, a vintage novelty store on Spring Street, said his wife suggested turning a few stores into stores from Diagon Alley after going through some Harry Potter stock at their store. But through the power of social media, the event has received a lot of attention.

“We decided to try to do something through the Spring Street Merchants Circle and to transform our stores,” Stapel said. “And until about seven or eight days ago, it was just a small event we were going to do after the holiday parade, just to keep people on the street after the parade for Small Business Saturday. We figured it would maybe help some of the businesses on the street.

“And then unbeknownst to us, we didn’t know it was being shared continuously all around the region, around the tri-state all the way down to South Jersey,” he continued. “We didn’t know the scope of how far it had gone. So now it’s not technically an event, it’s more of just everybody getting together and having a Harry Potter Day.”

The shopsStapel’s shop, which will transform into Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, will have a Sorting Hat to sort visitors into one of the four Hogwarts Houses. There will also be a Horcrux hunt which will enable visitors to be entered into a drawing to win three big prizes.

The Barrel House restaurant will transform into the Leaky Cauldron, so they will be serving Butterbeer along with Harry Potter-themed food. Between the Bread will transform into the Great Hall featuring Harry Potter-themed food and drinks, and 4Chicks will transform into Madam Puddifoot’s Cafè.

Other participating shops include Charcoal Moons boutique, which will transform into Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and Black Dog Books, which will become Flourish and Blotts bookshop.

The Scissor Joint will turn into Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion Salon and feature discounts, mini pedicures and Harry Potter nail decals.

Stapel also said that the Newton Methodist Church choir and a band will be in the street performing some songs from the Harry Potter movies along with some Christmas classics.

Those who are sorted into the different Houses will receive ID cards, Stapel said, which can be used during December on designated days in Newton to receive discounts. Cosplay is definitely encouraged as well, he said, so anyone who wants to come in costume is welcome.

“It’s a good way to bring a lot of people to the area,” Stapel said, “Newton is our county seat, so it would definitely be a boon for Newton. We’re working on revitalizing — we have a lot of people moving out of our county — so it’s a good way to maybe make it annual destination if we can do that and pull this off.”

Since the event has generated a lot of interest through social media, the Town of Newton has stepped up to help with parking and shuttles, he said, and Newton Mayor Wayne Levante has been a big supporter of the event as a way to get younger people into town. Plus, other organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and Lakeland Bank are all interested in being involved.

The holiday parade, including a visit from Santa, begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, on Spring Street.

The Diagon Alley event will take place immediately after the parade's conclusion and will continue throughout the afternoon.

Admission to both the parade and the Harry Potter event is free.