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Hagerstown Potter fans catch their last glimpse of Harry on the big screen at the midnight premiere

July 15, 2011|By MAEGAN CLEARWOOD and KATE S. ALEXANDER | maegan.clearwood@herald-mail.com
  • Harry Potter fans Wendy Buhrman, left, Ethan Buhrman and Colby Rider in their Potter costumes they wore to Leitersburg Cinema for the showing of the new Harry Potter movie.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

With a red-and-yellow knitted bag over her shoulder and a flowery frock tied over a vibrant, striped sweater, Margie Williams brought Mrs. Weasley to life Friday at the Westview Regal Valley Mall Stadium 16 movie theater.

Only 12 hours earlier, Williams, of Frederick, and her friend Meg Owens of Martinsburg, W.Va., were at a midnight premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part II."

"It was like a party. You can't go to a midnight showing and not be hardcore," Williams said.

Like millions across America, Potter fans gathered Thursday night at Leitersburg Cinemas and the mall theaters to catch their last glimpse of Harry, his friends and his foes when the clock struck 12.

The Hagerstown premieres had impressive turnouts. Mall Theater Manager Michael Burger estimated between 1,700 and 2,000 fans came for the screening.

Exactly 900 fans attended the soldout midnight showing at the cinemas on Leitersburg Pike, according to Jessica Rea, theater general manager.

As the last in the eight-movie series, Part II has fans geared up for an epic finale, Rea said.

"They get so excited," she said.

Katie Weatherholt, 28, of Hagerstown, said Thursday night that she would do as the film moved her to do — cry, cheer or shout out spells.

On Friday afternoon, the mall theater lobby wasn't nearly as packed as it had been for the midnight screening, but there were still some serious fans in line for tickets.

Jim Jones of Waynesboro, Pa., has read every book and seen every movie.

"We've been looking forward to it." he said. "It's really exciting."  

Jones said he came to the theater Friday with his family, opting against the midnight showing for the final installment in the series.

Alex Kellermeyer has read every Harry Potter book and also chose not to see the last movie at midnight. Her husband, Bill Kellermeyer, hasn't read the books, but said he loves watching the movies progress.

"They've gotten better as they've gone along. Each one I've thought was better than the last," he said.

Alex Kellermeyer said she and her family prefer coming to the Hagerstown theater because their local movie theater in Cumberland, Md., doesn't offer 3D viewings.

Laura Miller of Martinsburg, W.Va., who came with her son, Hunter, said she also wanted a 3D Harry Potter experience.

"I think we deserve it after eight movies. We can treat ourselves," she said.

"It has to be good," Hunter said.

Hunter, 12, said he's read all seven Harry Potter books, seen every movie and is an avid user of fan website mugglenet.com.

 Watching Harry's story come to an end was a bittersweet moment for some fans.

"I will be very sad," Kasayus Ferguson, 13, of Hagerstown said Thursday.

"I wish it could go on forever," Megen Franklin, 28, of Frederick said Thursday.

After attending the midnight premiere, Williams and Owens already knew what to expect Friday.

"It was great," Williams said. "It's hard to digest because it's the end."

Williams said she's taking her kids to the movies again tomorrow; Owens plans on going another two days in a row.

"How many times can we see it?" Williams said.

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