COLUMBIA — Harry Potter has inspired movies, games and now a display for the Living Windows Festival.
"A Hogwarts Christmas," the theme adopted by Makes Scents, a fragrance and bath products store on Ninth Street, will give its audience a look into the castle where Harry Potter attends school. The Hogwarts Express train will be in one window and the potions classroom in the other.
Makes Scents is one of 20 downtown businesses participating in the Living Windows Festival Friday. Live window performances are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m.
Meant to kick off the holidays, downtown merchants participate by decorating, making costumes and writing scripts in preparation for the big night. There will also be carriage rides, caroling, roasted chestnuts and other holiday activities.
The Perlow-Stevens Gallery is also participating with the theme, "Peace on Earth — Co-Exist." The gallery teams up every year with the Rock Bridge and Hickman National Art honors societies to create its window display.
"It's the kids who kind of wanted to do a co-exist theme because of the disarray found in our world today, they wanted to emphasize unity," said Jennifer Perlow, one of the owners of the gallery.
Perlow said proudly that she and her team were ready. "We need to move a few things but we're done."
For other merchants, preparations aren't finished but are coming to a clean close.
"So far we've been able to work on it during business hours, so we'll see how things go for the next few days," Taylor Huffman, a bridal consultant at The Villager, said earlier this week.
The Villager's theme, "Gingerbread Wonderland," is built around a large cardboard gingerbread house with employees dressed as elves.
Kimberly Carpenter, another bridal consultant at the shop, who moved to Columbia in August, said she has heard her coworkers talking about the Living Windows Festival for a long time.
"I'm excited to experience it," she said.