As the witching hour approached on Saturday night, Vineyarders donned robes, hats, scarves, crooked glasses, and painted scars on their foreheads and headed out to celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth installment of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series.

Steve Ewing with the sorting hat during dramatic reading at Behind the Bookstore. — Vivian Ewing

At Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books, witches and wizards waited in line for the stroke of midnight.

Released nine years after the close of the Harry Potter series in 2007, the Cursed Child is a play that tells the tale of Albus Severus Potter as he grapples with the heavy burden that comes with being Harry Potter’s youngest son. The play was written by Jack Thorne and is based on a story from J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany.

As the clock ticked down to midnight at Bunch of Grapes, muggles, witches, and wizards explored various games and crafts set up throughout the store. “Have you seen this wizard?” mugshots of Sirius Black hung from the walls and visitors added their own thoughts to a poster asking “What does Harry Potter mean to me?”

Clock strikes midnight and the books are unveiled at Bunch of Grapes. — Ray Ewing

Bunch of Grapes manager Molly Coogan refilled a pitcher of butter beer. Ms. Coogan coordinated the release party, beginning to brainstorm ideas back in March, when publishers first contacted bookstores about the release date. Ms. Coogan estimated close to 80 copies of the Cursed Child were reserved.

For the younger members of the wizarding world, the night was a new kind of excitement, one that they could share with other Potter enthusiasts. Twelve-year-old Zach Utz wore a Gryffindor scarf and glasses, and had the beloved lightning scar sketched on his forehead. He has been saving his Harry Potter costume since he bought it in Europe four years ago.

“My parents wanted to go to London,” he said “So I convinced them to take me to the Harry Potter movie set, where I got the costume.”

For older guests, the night brought back a world of magic that they thought had come to a close.

Brendan Rome, 23, said he felt as if he were reliving his childhood. He has been a Harry Potter fan since the release of the first movie in 2001, and he brought his phoenix tail-feather wand to the Bunch of Grapes release party. “I couldn’t be more excited,” he said. “It’s always good to see things come back, if they are done right.”

Brianna Archambault, Molly Conole, Penelope Dutton, and Kaila Newton in their wizarding finest. — Ray Ewing

As the clock ticked closer to midnight, the line around the counter at Bunch of Grapes grew. Luca Poth, age 9, and his friend Tanner Weiss, 8, entertained themselves by flipping through Hardy Boys books and recounting their favorite Harry moments. Lucca knew that in the Cursed Child, Harry would be a 37 years old, as the book takes place nineteen years after the action in the Deathly Hallows.

Both boys had been anticipating the Cursed Child’s release.

“I have been counting down the days,” said Tanner. “Without even using a calendar.”

Just after the stroke of midnight, Luca ran up to the counter. “I’m really excited to read this because after I finished the seventh book, I wondered ‘what will happen next?’ For example, who will be the new headmaster? And what will happen to Remus Lupin’s son?” he said. He clutched his copy of the Cursed Child, flipping through its pages of brand new magic.

Meanwhile, Behind the Bookstore’s patio in Edgartown buzzed with the same excitement, as Edgartown Books hosted a Harry Potter party. Hogwarts crests, cauldrons, and Platform 9 ¾ signs decorated the patio, which was filled with fans dressed up as their favorite characters.

Line forms outside Edgartown Books to pick up a copy of the new book. — Vivian Ewing

Store owner Jeffrey Sudikoff had organized the festivities and his wife, Joyce, worked at the counter inside. Some of crowds entering and leaving the bars on Main Street stopped by out of curiosity.

A cast of performers lead by Steve Ewing re-enacted the epilogue of the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is the opening scene of the Cursed Child. Mr. Ewing, Edgartown’s poet laureate, narrated while members of the Behind the Bookstore staff filled the roles of Harry Potter and other supporting characters.

As the performers read aloud the opening scenes from the new installment from the wizarding world, fans oohh-ed and ahh-ed at every word, following along until the cast dropped off at a stunning cliffhanger. A simple message followed:

“Buy the book and see what happens next.”

More photos of the Harry Potter book release parties.