IRVINE ( — Hundreds of fans lined up at the Irvine Spectrum early this morning to be part of the grand opening of the first Hello Kitty Cafe in the United States.

Dressed in their best Hello Kitty attire, fans from as far away as the East Coast waited for up to three hours to get their first taste of Hello Kitty cakes, pastries, fruit tarts, pies, cookies and more.

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Grand opening festivities, scheduled to run through Sunday, include daily giveaways.

Shaye Shortridge, who was among the fans standing in long lines for hours for this morning’s grand opening, said Hello Kitty is her life and is worth the long wait. “I think it’s really special because nothing like this has ever been in California. Usually to get something like this, you have to go to Japan,” she said it’s more than just food, it’s about the experience.

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“Hello Kitty has an amazing way to touch so many different people in so many different ways,” said Hello Kitty Spokesman David Marchi. “We describe the fan as age four to forever. So there’s really something special about her that touches a wide variety of people in a very special way.”

“There has been tremendous anticipation for the first ever Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container to open,” said Easther Liu, chief marketing officer for Irvine Company Retail Properties. “We’re proud that the Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container experience will be available exclusively here at Irvine Spectrum Center for Hello Kitty fans all over to enjoy.”

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Sanrio plans to keep the pop-up cafe at the Spectrum for at least a year.