For Harry Potter fans, "it all ends" with Thursday's midnight release of the final film in the wizarding series, which has swept the world by storm. The newest of the movies, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," is the second in a two-part series, the first released in November 2010.
"Everyone is really excited about it. The fans are also kind of melancholy, as a 10-year journey with the series all ends with this movie," said Darlene Lynch, co-owner of the Apollo Theatre in St. Marys.
The theater offered special midnight and 3 a.m. showings of the film, with tickets going on sale at 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening. In addition, part one of the Deathly Hallows series was also shown at 9 p.m and midnight., as a prelude to the new release.
The film will remain at the theater for three weeks, with 1 p.m. matinees on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays and regular showtimes of 7 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Dedicated Harry Potter fans began forming a line early Thursday morning outside the theatre to await the hottest ticket in town.
The first in line was Shelby Zomcik, 18, of St. Marys. Zomcik literally set up camp Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. and was accompanied by friends Carly McMackin, 18, and Matt Shuey, 19.
Zomcik said she has been a Harry Potter fan since a young age, as her parents often read her the books.
Dressed as Hermione Granger, the lead female character, Zomcik donned a costume consisting of an authentic Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry robe and prefect badge, a gray Hogwarts cardigan sweater, white blouse, maroon- and gold-striped tie, a borrowed plaid ECCHS skirt, black knee socks, sneakers and of course, a wand.
Zomcik said she purchased the robe, wand and sweater during a recent trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., which she visited in June as a high school graduation gift. While at the park, she met the mischievous twin characters Fred and George Weasley, played by Oliver and James Phelps.
"Harry grew up and I grew up, so I've always been close with Harry," Zomcik joked.
Her sentiments are shared with thousands of fans who began reading the books, first published in 1997, when they were youngsters and are now grown adults. Many of them drew their parents into the series, turning them into immediate fans.