And the Sweepstakes Winner Is...

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Danielle Ross, a customer of Otto's, A Booklovers Paradise in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is the winner of the Independent Muggles for Harry Potter Sweepstakes. Ross, who was selected randomly from more than 28,500 customer entries at nearly 300 ABA member stores, won a trip for four to London. She entered the contest at Otto's midnight celebration for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 21.

"Awesome" was the word Ross used frequently to describe her feelings about the award that will enable her to treat her boyfriend, father, and older sister to their first trip to England. A career in the field of international education has brought Ross to London before, but she is looking forward to introducing her guests to the street markets and well-known landmarks of the city next summer.

About Otto's, which has been a fixture in Williamsport since 1841, Ross said, "It's a great place ... They have great prices and a great selection -- it's the only bookstore I ever go to. It's independent. It's not your typical corporate bookstore."

Otto's held two Harry Potter parties during the weekend of the book's release: one on Friday night through midnight, and the second beginning early the next morning. Owner Betsy Rider told BTW the parties featured homemade, themed treats, such as troll's toes, which utilized creampuffs and miniature potato chips to create believable, and fairly disgusting, toes. "Relay races," she said with a laugh, "didn't involve speed." Children participated in a hunt for the sorcerer's stone, with hobbyhorses, balloons, and clues from each of the books.

"Loads of people were playing games outdoors; there was a Jeopardy-type Harry Potter trivia game and there was a lot of excitement," Rider continued.

When Ross returned to Otto's after receiving word of her win from Promotion Mechanics, the sweepstakes administrator, Rider said, "She came in walking on air." Supplying the winner of the contest, which was open to all ABA bookstore members, was also a thrill for the staff of the venerable bookstore, which includes third and fourth generations of the Rider family. Noting that Otto's is one of only five businesses still active in Williamsport's downtown and that a large chain bookstore opened nearby this past year, Rider said, "Our customers are very, very happy for us. We're hanging in there, and this is a real boost." --Nomi Schwartz