Tours of Forks-area sites inspired by Twilight best-sellers fill up
By Paige Dickerson, Peninsula Daily News
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The tours — set up by the Forks Chamber of Commerce in May — will visit all of the stomping grounds of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, the main characters in the best-selling book, and its sequels, by Stephenie Meyer.
Three tours have been set up as "test runs," and the chamber will consider more tours if the three are successful.
Spots on the Saturday tours are filling up fast.
Both the June 14 and June 20 date are completely booked, and the first tour this Saturday has only two seats left.
Fans from Australia, Ireland and Ohio are among those who have already reserved their tickets for the three-hour tour.
Each tour can take up to 12 people, said Marcia Bingham, executive director of the Forks Chamber of Commerce.
Each tour will leave at 9 a.m. from the visitor center at 1411 S. Forks Ave.
"The family from Australia is a family of four with daughters who have read the books and are very eager to come here to visit," said Mike Gurling — office manager for the Forks Visitor Center and the current tour leader.
Fans come to Forks
Droves of fans have flocked to Forks to see the sites of their beloved characters' home town.
"We have more than 600 pictures of fans in the office on our Web site now," Gurling said.
Gurling said the chamber is open to working with groups who want to do the tour on days other than Saturdays.
"We are going to be as responsive to that as we can," he said.
The chamber Twilight Tours will be in the van used for the Forks Logging and Mill Tours, so it will not be available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
The three-hour logging tours leave from the Forks Visitor Center at 9 a.m. each of those days each week through September.
Meyer's novel details the love story between Bella and Edward, a vampire, after Bella moves to rainy Forks to live with her dad, Charlie, the city police chief.
"We will take people by the house that we think really looks like the place Bella lives," Gurling said.
"We've already visited with the owners, and it will be more of a drive-by thing, but if the group wants to stop and take a quick picture we'll do that too.
Also on the tour is LaPush — where Bella first learned of Edward's vampire nature — Forks High School, Forks Police Station and Forks Community Hospital — where Bella goes after being injured and where Edward's vampire father works as a doctor.
"The hospital is also going to put up a parking space for Dr. Cullen," Gurling said.
"I hope they do that in time for the tours."
Movie, top sellers
Twilight was the first of a series, followed by New Moon and Eclipse.
The fourth book in Meyer's series, Breaking Dawn, will be released Aug. 2.
Filming of a movie version of Twilight has finished and is now in the editing stages.
No filming was done in the Forks area.
The movie is expected to open in theaters on Dec. 12.
Meyer is working on a rewrite of Twilight from Edward's perspective titled Midnight Sun, but Little, Brown and Co. has not announced whether they will be publishing the book.
The books have become a teen phenomenon, drawing attention from thousands of fans.
All three books are in the top 20 of USA Today's best-seller list — Twilight is ranked No. 5, New Moon No. 15 and Eclipse No. 16.
Meyer also has a fourth book on the list unrelated to the series. The Host is currently ranked number four.
Many of those fans have trekked to Forks to explore the town where their beloved characters live in the books.
Reservations are required for the tours.
The cost per person is based on the number of passengers.
For two riders, the cost will be $20 each; for four riders, $15 each; and for six to eight riders, $12 each.
Because the response has been so great so far, Gurling said the chamber might consider hiring someone to lead the tours.
He recommended fans check the Web site — www.forkswa.com and click on events — to see if more events have been added.
"I am full of energy and excited to see how this develops," Gurling said.
For more information, phone Gurling or Bingham at 360-374-2531.
Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or email@example.com.
Last modified: June 03. 2008 9:00PM