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    Daniel Radcliffe, left, as Harry Potter; Emma Watson as Hermione Granger; and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley reunite in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2."
    Bethany Hamilton, left, and AnnaSophia Robb spoke onstage at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas April 3.

Surfers put ‘soul’ in parade

Kauai surfer Bethany Hamilton and AnnaSophia Robb, the actress who played her in the recent film "Soul Surfer," will ride in the city’s inaugural Celebration Parade for America’s July 4 Birthday through Waikiki today. The parade begins at 6 p.m. at Fort DeRussy and proceeds along Kalakaua Avenue to Queen’s Surf Beach where "Soul Surfer" will be screened at a special Sunset on the Beach.

Hamilton will help introduce the film when the evening program begins at about 7:55 p.m.

Hamilton was a 13-year-old surfing prodigy when her left arm was bitten off by a tiger shark in 2003. But instead of giving up, she went on to become a champion despite having to learn to surf all over again. The movie is based on her 2004 autobiography of the same name.

Blaisdell to host Maori opera star

International opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will headline a recital at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall.

The New Zealand-born soprano will be accompanied by University of Otago piano professor Terence Davis.

Tickets for "Dame Kiri in Concert," presented by Bostock Productions and Tom Moffatt, will go on sale July 15 at Ticketmaster outlets and online at Proceeds from the show, which is partially sponsored by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, will benefit Hawaii Opera Theatre.

Prices are $75, $100, and $125. For information, call 800-745-3000.

Born into a family of Maori aristocrats, Kanawa moved to London and began to gain fame as a singer in the 1970s. Her solo performance during the broadcast of the royal wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 was seen by an estimated 600 million viewers, increasing her popularity even more.

Railway Society to honor Fourth

Although you can pop legally allowed fireworks or eat standard-issue hot dogs on the Fourth of July, this year you can also take a train ride through time at the old Ewa Plantation, through Kapolei, Ko Olina, to Kahe Point and then returning. There are two 90-minute train rides scheduled Monday via the Hawaiian Railway Society location, but only the 2 p.m. ride still had seats left at last report. Put yourself on the passenger list by calling organizer John Bond at 685-3045 or emailing him at

Train ride seats are $8.50 ($7.50 for seniors over 62 and kids under 12; children under 2 are free).

But that’s not the only event at the historic Ewa train rides. The Ewa Plantation Singers will also perform; eyewitnesses to the Dec. 7 attacks at Ewa 70 years ago will tell their stories; the honorary mayor of Waipahu, Goro Arakawa, will play ukulele and demonstrate the proper wearing of palaka shirts; David and Myrna Junk and the Na Kupuna o Ko‘olau Five musicians, plus seven dancers, will perform between train rides, at nearby Pueos restaurant, where a barbecue menu is available under a luau tent for train riders.

The train event is dedicated to the late Fred Ballard of the Oahu Veterans Center, and military ceremonial units will be there. And at some point a vintage North American SNJ World War II advanced trainer will perform a commemorative fly-past.

For a list of Independence Day events, visit hono­

Memories of Muggles

"Harry Potter" fan Kaiulani Fontenot, an administrative assistant for Island Pacific Distributors Inc., says she has not lost her enthusiasm for the magical world created by J.K. Rowling in her sensational book series. She writes:

"When ‘Harry Potter’ came out, I was 13. My English teacher bought the book and would read us a chapter each day. I would imagine what it would be like to have magical powers, fly on brooms and be invisible. Once, Borders had a midnight book release party and asked the customers to show up in either a Harry Potter costume or ball attire. I dressed in a very nice ball gown, only to find that everyone else dressed as Harry Potter characters instead. Even though I am now 26, I’m still rocking Harry Potter fever!!"

Fontenot and other Pottermaniacs are eagerly awaiting the July 15 theatrical release of the final chapter of the wildly successful film franchise, "Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 2." As part of a special package of stories to mark the end of Potter movies in the Today section, we’d like to share your memories and feelings about what the books and movies have meant to you.

And let us know of any events planned to celebrate (or lament) the final "Harry Potter" installment.

Email your comments and photos to by July 10.

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