Twin sisters grew up with Potter, wouldn’t miss his final adventure

Zac Barger, 16, bottom right, and Kimberlyn Bennett, 18, seated at center in black shirt, were the first ones in line for the early showing today of the new movie “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” at Regal Cinemas Canyon View 14 in Grand Junction. A 3D version also was scheduled for $15. Barger and Bennett waited Thursday night in their cars from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. today, when the cinema allowed them to camp out on the sidewalk.

Twin sisters Kimberlyn and Kailyn Bennett have few life memories that predate Harry Potter.

They were introduced to the adolescent wizard as first-graders when their mother read to them “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first novel in the seven-part series.

For the next 12 years, the girls slowly grew up alongside Harry Potter, as more books, and eventually movies, were released. The girls read every book and saw every movie.

Until now.

Sitting on camping chairs beneath umbrellas meant to shield their dark hair and fair skin from the sun Thursday, the sisters, now 18, joined dozens of other people outside Regal Cinemas Canyon View 14 for a midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the final movie in the series.

Although the girls know how the series ends — the last book was released in 2007 — they wanted to see the final movie because it represents the last piece of the Potter puzzle.

“It’s the end of a journey,” Kailyn said.

Kailyn called the end of Harry Potter “symbolic” because the sisters have grown up, graduated from Grand Junction High School and are off to college in the fall, so their journey in Grand Junction is nearly over, as well.

Although the Bennett sisters have a special story linked to their memories of Harry Potter, they were far from the only people already in line by noon Thursday for midnight showings.

With the Bennett sisters were friends Zac Barger, 16; Mike Calacino, 18; A.J. Schlechten, 16; Logan Shirley, 16; Allisyn Thompson, 17; and Cohen Turner, 15.

Several members of the party, mostly Grand Junction High students, arrived at the theater at 5 a.m. Wednesday and came back periodically throughout the day Wednesday before they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to get in line until 2 a.m. Thursday.

The teenagers waited, and when 2 a.m. came, they literally pitched two tents and set up camp near the theater’s front doors.

The chance to be first in line to get the best seats to see what may be the best Harry Potter movie of them all is part of the experience, the teenagers agreed.

Kim Vollender, 44, her daughter, Mikayla Vollender, 13, and son-in-law, David Fisher, 23, agreed that waiting in line was part of the process.

Fisher took two days vacation from work at Mesa Mall to wait in line and catch the midnight showing.

The story line of Harry Potter’s adventures with his friends, as well as the evil Voldemort, captures the imagination, he said.

Kim Vollender said she read all seven books in two weeks. But even she admitted she’s glad the final movie is here because, “I’m tired of waiting in line.”

However, there is a chance this isn’t the final Harry Potter after all. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling launched a website,, which will provide new material to augment her books.

Rowling also tells website visitors, “Come back on 31st July to find out how you can get the chance to enter Pottermore early.”

What if there is more to the Harry Potter story?

“Oh, we’d all read them,” Kim Vollender said. “There isn’t any Harry Potter fan who wouldn’t.”


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