Forks becomes the real Twilight zone for festival celebrating fictional character's birthday
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Forks Chamber of Commerce Director Marcia Bingham and Forks High Principal Kevin Rupprecht hold a signed "Twilight" movie poster in front of the old high school, which figures prominently in the series of fiction book set in Forks. -- Photo by Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News

By Paige Dickerson, Peninsula Daily News

FORKS — Bella's 20th birthday party on Saturday is shaping up to be a bigger bash than last year's.

In 2007, about two dozen fans celebrated at the Forks Memorial Library during the first community commemoration of the fictional character's birthday.

This year, at least one hotel is completely booked with fans of the Twilight series of teen vampire novels for the party, said Forks Visitor Center office manager Mike Gurling.

The Dew Drop Inn's 135 rooms are all booked up and up to 1,000 fans could invade the town, he said.

Isabella Swan lives only in the imaginations of author Stephenie Meyer and fans of the four-novel series about a teen romance between Bella, a mortal girl, and Edward Cullen, a handsome vampire.

The books, all set in the rain, mist and trees of Forks, has brought a modicum of fame — and a rush of visitors — to the West End community.

Hundreds of fans have been through the Forks Visitor Center since the series exploded in popularity in the summer of 2007.

The books have remained for weeks on the top of the USA Today best-selling book list.

Twilight, the first book in the series is No. 1 on the latest list, which is based on sales through Aug. 31.

Breaking Dawn, the concluding volume, is No. 2. New Moon, the second in the series, is No. 3, and Eclipse, the third novel, is No. 5.

"Twilight," the movie — none of which was filmed in Forks — is to be released Nov. 21.

No RSVP
Despite predictions, Gurling said he doesn't know how many people will converge on Forks for the second annual Stephenie Meyer Day on Saturday.

"We know there are several large groups," he said.

"But we just have no idea what to expect."

The only event with a price tag is the 6 p.m. Wolf Dance at the A-Ka-Lat Center on the Quileute reservation in LaPush.

Admission to the dance will cost $5 per person.

In the Twilight series, several of Bella's friends in LaPush are werewolves.

A bonfire and a storytelling session will commemorate a party Meyer imagined in LaPush.

There, Bella learned of Edward's vampire nature from Quileute werewolf Jacob Black, who later became another love interest for Bella as well as her best friend.

"We have Chris Morganroth III telling stories at the bonfire," Gurling said.

Morganroth, an elder and member of the tribal council, is a historian for the tribe.

"He has a lot of knowledge of the history of the Quileutes, and I copied him Stephenie's version so that he would know what that was.

"But he'll be telling the actual history."

New maps
For the event, the Forks Chamber of Commerce printed new maps of the town.

"We have a lot more businesses who are selling Twilight memorabilia," Gurling said.

"We had 5,000 printed up."

Chamber workers will not host Twilight tours on Stepehenie Meyer Day, although they will point fans in the right directions for photographs.

And fans can also get a special peek inside Forks High School — a primary location of the vampire and human's love story — with tours hosted by students.

Information about the Twilight tours, which are offered on most Saturdays, can be found on the chamber's Web site, www.forkswa.com.

TwilightMOMS
About 150 TwilightMoms are expected to show up at the festivities — some with their children in tow, and others alone, said Amy Olsen, event coordinator for TwilightMOMS.com.

Olsen became a member of the Web site — which is popular with Twilight fans — in October 2007, after initially resisting reading the books.

"I don't read books about vampires," she said in an e-mail interview.

"I finally read Twilight simply to get everyone off my back.

"Little did I know how it would change my life."

Olsen — who is one of the few TwilightMoms who doesn't have children — plans to be in Forks on Saturday.

She said she had been in Phoenix, where Bella lived before moving to Forks, "so I can picture it very well when Stephenie describes it.

"I haven't really been any place like Forks, though, so I'm excited to see if the images in my head match the real thing."

Group members plan to go to all of the events of the day as well as visiting places mentioned in the series.

"We're planning on shopping at the Thriftway, eating at Bella Italia [in Port Angeles], hiking in the Hoh Rainforest and simply seeing as much of the area as possible," Olsen said.

"There are no specific plans to see any non-Twilight sights, but that may change when we get there."

Lisa Hansen, TwilightMoms founder and senior administrator, also will attend the festivities.

"I've wanted to come since I first learned about [Stephenie Meyer Day] in October 2007," Hansen said in an e-mail interview.

"After just discussing it in the forums, it quickly became a reality.

"But I'd never expected it to evolve into what it is now."

Hansen said the site is a labor of love for her, but that she hadn't anticipated how many other adults would share her obsession with the series of teen novels.

"I never anticipated the growth it's experiencing," she said.

"I think the large adult fan base is somewhat a surprise to the whole fandom — me included."

Here's the schedule
A FULL DAY of celebration of fictional character Isabella Swan's birthday is planned in Forks on Stephenie Meyer Day.

8 a.m. — Breakfast served, First Congregational Church, 280 S. Spartan Ave.

10 a.m. — Tour of Forks High school, 411 S. Spartan Ave.

10 a.m. — Vendors of Twilight memorabilia, Tillicum Park.

11 a.m. — Tour of Forks High School.

11 a.m. — Blood-red punch served at used book sale, Forks Memorial Library, 171 S. Forks Ave.

Noon — Forks Mayor Nedra Reed reads proclamation, Tillicum Park.

1 p.m. — Tour of Forks High School.

1:30 p.m. — Birthday cake for Bella, Tillicum Park.

2 p.m. — Group photo, Tillicum Park.

2:30 p.m. — Judging for the Edward Cullen, Bella Swan/Jacob Black look-alike contest, Tillicum Park.

3 p.m. — Open discussion on values in the Twilight series, Tillicum Park.

2 p.m. — Fans will read aloud from their favorite Twilight-series book, Tillicum Park

6 p.m. —Wolf Dance, A-Ka-Lat Center, LaPush.

7 p.m. — Bonfire and storytelling, First Beach, LaPush.

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

Last modified: September 11. 2008 9:00PM
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