Off the Press

July 19, 2011

By Greg Farrar

One good mania deserves another

After a decade of sweeping readers and moviegoers off their feet with a school named Hogwarts, games of Quiddich and battles of good against evil, the final wave of Pottermania is now sweeping over Issaquah, the nation and the world, with the last of the epic movies having blasted through every worldwide box office record last weekend.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Ticket sales of $475 million in three days is not too shabby!

Over the years, we’ve covered lines of fans at the local movie theater, costume parties for the latest book release at local shops, and huge shipments of Harry Potter books making their way from King County Library System headquarters on Newport Way to all of the branches in the system.

The question is, now what? Every generation has its “mania.” We’ve had the Jazz Age, Golden Age of Hollywood, Beatlemania, discomania and now the end of Pottermania. What should we proclaim in Issaquah to be the next all-consuming mania?

For the socially conscious, my personal preference would be to promote “Littermania,” getting us all to join in to pick up every scrap of paper, every beverage bottle and every plastic wrapper. Ever hear of the 1950’s fad of college students cramming into a phone booth? There’s at least one phone booth still in town, across the street from The Press building. Let’s have a contest of bagging up litter around town and seeing how many bags it takes to fill the phone booth!

Or, how about “musicmania?” There are a lot of scheduled music events this summer in town. For instance, during the next ArtWalk on Aug. 5, we could all bring that musical instrument in the back of the closet that we used to play — kazoo, violin, bongo drums, tambourine — and make ourselves a gleeful racket on Front Street and at Gilman Village.

Here’s an idea for “Bingomania” maybe during a Concert on the Green. Everyone could make himself or herself a Bingo card and bring 25 pennies. Someone onstage start calling out numbers, and each time a player wins, everybody cheers and applauds while they get to wear a funny hat. Keep playing and passing around the funny hat to the winners until done with Bingo, then collect all the pennies for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank. And nothing’s stopping you from using nickels, dimes or quarters, either!

What about “walkermania” — parking the car a few blocks from the store, the bank or the dentist’s office, and getting to know your neighbors on the sidewalks of Front Street, Gilman Boulevard and Pickering Place? During the summer in particular, there’s nothing as nice as seeing someone you know or giving a smile and a hello to another passerby.

Pottermania has been a wonderful thing. Who would’ve thought that at the same time young people have been using textspeak and getting used to the 140-character attention span of a tweet, that they could sit down and excitedly read one 700-page novel after another? And in a time where the drumbeat is to have more, buy more and step over others to get more, where else than from Harry and his pals Hermione and Ron have we been learning the virtue of sacrifice for the sake of helping others?

Whatever mania you choose next, make it a good one!

Greg Farrar: 392-6434, ext. 235, or Comment at

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One Response to “Off the Press”

  1. Annique Bennett on July 20th, 2011 12:30 pm

    I love this idea! Anyone really interested in getting a “mainia” going in downtown – please call Annique, Cultural Events Director at the Downtown Association with ideas. 425-391-1112. or email

    Annique Bennett

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