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Fans wait in line 18 hours for last Harry Potter film
Harry Potter pic1
Clarissa Conley and Elizabeth Sousa have been first in line for the past three Harry Potter movies. They arrived at 6 a.m. on Thursday for the midnight premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN/ The Journal

Early Friday morning marked the end of an era for a generation of Harry Potter fans. The last movie in the Harry Potter tale premiered at 12 a.m. on Friday morning, and droves of Potter fans came to wish a final farewell to characters that many grew up with.

“It’s kind of sad. Now it’s really done. I had that same feeling when I finished the last book, but at least I had the movies to look forward to. Now it’s actually over,” said Abel Abrego, who lined up at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon to see the midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.”

By the time Abrego got to Regal Cinemas Turlock Stadium 14 the line was already around the building. The first two people in line, Clarissa Conley and Elizabeth Sousa, arrived at 6 a.m. on Thursday to reserve their spots in line. They brought a tent, a boom box, folding chairs and everything they would need for an 18-hour campout. They explained that the long line was not the line to buy tickets, which sold out weeks ago for the midnight premier.

“We wanted to be first to get good seats,” Sousa said.

Conley and Sousa were not the only ones to arrive early for the second part of the last Harry Potter movie. By 1 p.m. on Thursday there was a line of tents and pop-ups to shade the die-hard Potter fans. Some fans dressed up as their favorite character, or wore Hogwarts house jerseys. A group of teens played a pick-up match of Quiddich, a sport from the Harry Potter universe that normally requires the ability to fly on a broomstick. The players used hula hoops as goals and several different sized dodge balls to play the game.

Lupe Mercado, manager at Regal Cinemas Turlock Stadium 14, said that tickets for the midnight premier sold out about a week in advance. The theater dedicated seven of its 14 screens to the premier.

“We’ve had phones ringing off the hooks, people wanted to know if there were still tickets anywhere,” Mercado said.

The enthusiasm for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” started almost as soon as Part 1 ended. “The Deathly Hallows” was the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling’s magical series, but it was split into two separate movies when it was adapted for film. Turlock, and several other theaters, screened “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” before the premier of Part 2. For a few additional dollars fans could purchase these “flashback” tickets and watch both movies from the same seat.

“We’re thinking about buying the extra ticket to the first movie. We’ll be waiting until midnight anyway, might as well wait inside,” said Aimie Rivera.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.