Twilight tours thrill fans from all over

By Paige Dickerson, Peninsula Daily News

FORKS Forks residents are throwing themselves into playing the parts of characters populating the hometown of a teen vampire novel, Twilight for tourists eager to see the setting of the popular book.

The first Forks Chamber of Commerce Twilight Tour, which shows visitors places mentioned in Stephenie Meyer's novel and sequels, was a hit on Saturday, said Mike Gurling, Visitor Center manger.

The next two tours on June 14 and June 28 are fully booked, with this Saturday's tour drawing visitors from as far away as Ireland and New Zealand.

Last Saturday's inaugural tour took a fully-loaded 13-passenger van filled with people from Ohio, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona to most of the locations highlighted in the books.

And the people at most of the tour stops played along.

"We were so excited and thankful to the homeowners who let all of us crazy fans get out and take pictures of their homes," said Amy Kiedrowski, 34, of Surprise, Ariz.

Tour leader Gurling said he led the tour as if the book's characters actually lived there.

"The whole time I was leading the tours, I was talking about the events and people as if they were real," Gurling said.

"We had to keep reminding ourselves that it was fiction, that those things didn't really happen."

The tours highlight the favorite spots of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, the main characters in Meyer's best-selling book and its sequels.

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.

The doctor is out
On Saturday, the Forks Community Hospital put up a sign especially for Dr. Carlisle Cullen the vampire father of Edward Cullen, and a doctor at the hospital.

A self-described die-hard fan, Kiedrowski said she hoped to return someday.

She had spent two days on the North Olympic Peninsula exploring all the sites.

"It was so great that they had picked out Bella's house and Jacob's house for us," she said.

"First Beach was my favorite spot, it was so beautiful.

"It was just how I imagined it."

The Miller Tree Inn the town's representation of the Cullen home put the Cullen name on the mailbox, and left a note on a white board outside.

"Dr. Cullen is not in today," the note said.

"He and the family have gone hunting. In an emergency please call 911 or proceed to Forks Community Hospital.

The note is signed by Esme Cullen, the doctor's wife in the novel.

The chamber is considering mid-week tours, but has not yet worked out the details.

Gurling said slight adjustments would be made on the next tour, but that he planned to keep the tours loosely scheduled, to permit spontaneity.

LaPush popular
"One thing I hadn't anticipated was how much everyone wanted to take a picture with a sign that said LaPush on it," Gurling said.

"For the next time, I'll keep my eye out for a better opportunity for that."

Two of the women who attended Saturday's tour were Tonia Tucker, 36, and Karen Knight, 31, both of Joyce.

Although they were locals and Tucker had visited the town before neither had explored the sites since they had read the Twilight series.

"It totally brought the books to life," Tucker said.

"Even though I'm from around here, and have seen Forks before, it was awesome to see all of the different spots around town."

Both women wanted to see the meadow in which a key scene takes place between Bella and Edward, but the foggy day and a short schedule prevented the group from visiting it.

"I think it would be really cool if there were people playing the parts in order to make it even more real to us," Tucker said.

"It is just such an intriguing story and it pulls you right into the pages."

Tucker said her friends have "gone crazy" over the books and one is even considering a tattoo depicting the image on the cover of Twilight two hands holding an apple.

Tour stops
In addition to the tour sites the Cullen home, the Swan home, Forks Community Hospital, First Beach in LaPush, Forks Outfitters and many more Gurling also made suggestions on where the group could visit afterward.

Sully's Burgers makes a "Bella Burger" and Subway makes a "Twilight Sandwich" while Chinook Pharmacy and Forks Outfitters both sell T-shirts with Twilight themes.

"After the tour we went and had a Bella Burger at Sully's," Knight said.

The highlight of the tour for Knight was seeing First Beach.

Having never visited Forks or that beach before, she said it was an enchanting experience.

"It was exactly how I imagined it," Knight said.

"I thought the tour really brought the books more to life for me.

"Mike was really cool and he seemed to know the answers for all of the questions we had."

Both Knight and Tucker said they would be back for Bella's birthday celebration on Sept. 13.

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.

Addendum
RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED for the Forks Chamber of Commerce Twilight Tours.

Space are available on the July 12 and July 26 tours and the chamber may schedule more.

Each tour leaves at 9 a.m. from the Forks Visitor Center at 1411 S. Forks Ave.

The cost per person is based on the number of passengers.

For two riders, the cost is $20 each; for four riders, $15 each; and for six to eight riders, $12 each.

For information about tours, check the Web site www.forkswa.com and click on events, phone the chamber at 360-374-2531 or e-mail info@forkswa.com.

_________
Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or paige.dickerson@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 10. 2008 9:00PM
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