Rowling Ready to Unveil New Harry Potter

07/15/2005 at 08:45 AM EDT

Rowling Ready to Unveil New Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling
Dave Hogan/Getty
Friday night at midnight, Harry Potter's creator J.K. Rowling will appear before 70 children at Scotland's Edinburgh Castle and read to them from her sixth and latest novel in the series: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

They will not be alone. The kids, an international group who won the coveted slots to report for local papers back home, will be joined by fire-eaters and jugglers after being taken to the castle by 12 carriages drawn by black horses decorated with black ostrich plumes.

Edinburgh Castle will be decorated, too – to look like Harry's wizardry academy, Hogwarts. The magic moment will be when Rowling appears from behind a secret panel. She'll not only read portions of the book, but give a copy to each child.

A live TV feed of the Edinburgh event will be plugged into the Manhattan Barnes & Noble store where actor Jim Dale – the voice of Rowling's Potter books in their audio versions – will host a party to celebrate the much-anticipated book's release.

Over in Times Square, the gargantuan Toys 'R' Us store will also be converted in Hogwarts, in one of a scheduled 5,000 celebrations marking the book's publication in America.

So far, the biggest party looks to be happening in Mount Prospect, Ill. Estimated guest total: 10,000.

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