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Tickets for Three Cups go quickly

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Lake Oswego residents, from left, Miriam Rohrbaugh, Brenda Ballo, Andy Harris, Kathy Okano, Jannat Zhussupova and Jennifer Curran were the first six people in line to get tickets to see the “Three Cups of Tea” authors speak at Lake Oswego High School Feb. 6.

They were the hottest ticket in town, pun intended.

More than 1,000 people filled the Lake Oswego Public Library on Saturday to stand in line for a pair of free tickets to hear 'Three Cups of Tea' authors Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin speak Feb. 6 as a part of this year's Lake Oswego Reads program.

When the library opened at 10 a.m., there were already people waiting for the 2:30 p.m. distribution of 1,000 tickets.

'Three Cups of Tea' supporters followed the taped line on the floor that wrapped around the book stacks on the main floor of the library.

People sat on the floor, read books, discussed 'Three Cups of Tea,' knitted, drank tea and had fun. By 1 p.m., organizers estimated that the line had more than 250 people. By 2 p.m., there were more than 450 people waiting with the line leading to the second floor.

'It was so exciting. There was such a buzz throughout the library and you could feel the anticipation,' said Lake Oswego resident Gregory Breuner, one of the lucky library members to receive two free tickets. 'The people waiting introduced themselves to each other and discussed the books in front of them. We left the library with tickets and new friends.'

At 2:30 p.m. tickets were distributed, two per person, and they were gone in 20 minutes, just as LO Reads organizer Cyndie Glazer predicted.

More than 500 people were turned away when the tickets ran out.

Lake Oswego Reads organizers were surprised and thrilled with the response to hearing Relin and Mortenson speak. Because of the high demand for tickets, Glazer said library officials plan to check Craigslist and eBay to see if people post them for sale - and if so, how much they sell for.

Although there is not a waiting list, people can show up on Feb. 6 at Lake Oswego High School and if there are seats available at 6:45 p.m., they will be seated in the cafeteria, where guests will be able to see and hear the authors talk on large screens.

The blue tickets are for the auditorium and the red tickets are for the cafeteria, officials said. The tickets note that there is no admission after 6:45 p.m. for the 7 p.m. presentation.

Mortenson will travel to Lake Oswego from his home in Bozeman, Mont., while Relin lives in Portland. They will both talk at a student-only event at Lakeridge High School earlier in the day.

Library officials plan to solicit donations for Mortenson's non-profit, the Central Asia Institute, during his evening appearance and through a elementary school program, 'Pennies for Peace.'

This author event is made possible in part by a grant from the gOregon Council for the Humanities, a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OCH's grant program. The Oregon Cultural Trust, which invests in Oregon arts, humanities and heritage, also helped fund OCH's grant program.

This is the second annual Lake Oswego Reads and the goal of the program is to strengthen civic pride, foster discussion among residents and bring the community together through the common bond of reading. It gives a forum in which to talk about different themes, concepts and issues in the book and a means to access related experiences.

To find out about all the events planned around 'Three Cups of Tea' during February, go to www.lakeoswegolibrary.org and click on the Lake Oswego Reads box.