Nearly 300 people at the Surface 2 launch event near Microsoft’s headquarters

Line doubled in last hour.  1 hour to go.  Another 50 in store for contests.  #Surface launch @MicrosoftStore

Lines form for the Surface 2 midnight launch event in Bellevue, Wash. Photo courtesy of Anthony Hanses.

There are close to 300 people gathering at the Bellevue Square Mall in Washington for the Surface 2 midnight launch event.

Now, not every single person is there to pick up Microsoft’s newest tablet. Some are staying up on Monday night to participate in the Surface Challenge, a contest that will award one winner from 10 different Microsoft stores around the country with an all-expense paid VIP trip to Orlando.

Others may be there to see Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman. The first 150 people in line will snag an autograph from the All-Pro cornerback, who also helped Microsoft with the Halo 4 launch about a year ago.

But some are certainly waiting to pick up their new Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 and be the first to get their hands on Microsoft’s newest line of tablets.

If you didn’t pre-order, though, it may be difficult to take home a new device:

Others want to test out the devices and simply check them out. Twitter user @ultimatemakeup, for example, plans to try the Surface 2 in the store and then see what Apple announces on Tuesday with its new iPad.

Lines formed for both the Surface (October of last year) and Surface Pro (February 2013) launch at Seattle’s University Village.

Here are a few more photos from Bellevue:

Here’s what’s going on at the Microsoft Store in Austin (10 Microsoft stores are hosting midnight launch parties):

And the scene inside another store: