Crowd waits 14 hours, braves heat for Harry Potter

LIHU‘E — Dana O’Strowski of San Francisco said on Thursday afternoon this is the last time she is doing the midnight thing for Harry Potter.

O’Strowski and her mom arrived at 10 a.m., equipped for the 14-hour wait before the final Harry Potter episode, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II,” was to light up the screens at the Kukui Grove Cinema in Lihu‘e for a midnight special showing.

“When I got to work, there were already people in line,” said Richard Taken, a Cinema employee who was setting up stanchions to keep the exits clear. “But it shouldn’t be too bad because we have several special showings on two screens starting at midnight.”

Second in line were a group of Island School recent graduates, the energetic students arriving around noon.

“I’m going to dress up,” said Kyle Lee, an Island School alumna, while Christy Mayfield relayed Starbucks Coffee orders to another student over a cell phone. “But the dress up part comes later.”

O’Strowski said she’s been doing the midnight showings for all of the Harry Potter books and films since its initial release.

“The first one came out when I was in the first grade,” the Californian said. “I did every release at the midnight hour, including one book in Nevada. Now, I’m going to be in college. This is the last one and this is going to be my last Harry Potter midnight.”

Cher Ellwood, a math teacher from Waimea High School, said she also has been doing the special Potter releases, producing a wand she got from Ollivanders Wand Shop while attending the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida last year.

“Normally, I dress up as Madame Hootch, the teacher who teaches people how to fly and play quidditch,” Ellwood said. “But my daughter is doing that in California, where she’s also waiting in line for the movie release.”

She produced a cell phone containing a photo of her daughter and a friend waiting in a parking lot.

“I started reading the books when my daughter was 10, and Harry was 10,” Ellwood said. “I’ve read each book at least four times, attended comic conventions and even the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year. I’m re-reading the book while waiting to see how true to it the film is.”

She was joined by Kellie McEvoy of Kalaheo who had an entourage of people, McEvoy being no stranger to midnight releases on Kaua‘i.

“This is not the Twilight (Series), but I want to compare,” McEvoy said, prompting a forum discussion between the differences of the Twilight Series and Harry Potter. “I’ve been to every one of the Twilight Series release at midnight and the one in November is going to be hot.”

Kiana Rodriguez of Lihu‘e, part of the McEvoy entourage, said she wants the wand.

“It’s Hermione’s wand,” Ellwood said. “It is vinewood and has dragon heart strings at its core.”

Sierra McEvoy rolled her eyes at the ongoing dialog which flitted from difference between the Twilight Series and Harry Potter and different aspects of each series.

“They’ve got some stuff at Sweet Pia’s in the Kukui Grove Center,” she said.

Kukui Grove Cinema opened its run of “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part II,” with a special midnight, 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. showing.

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• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@


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