By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The 25-year-old actor who played Sam Uley in the movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's first novel of Forks-based fictional series, said he was "honored" and "deeply moved" to be a special guest at Quileute Days on Saturday.
And his appearance for star-struck and admiring fans gave the annual Quileute Days its best-ever attendance.
"It's been a dream of mine to participate in a celebration like this," said Trimble, after dancing with tribal members in a transformational dance at the A-Ka-Lat center in LaPush.
"What an honor it is to be here. I'm all choked up."
In "Twilight," Trimble plays a young Quileute man who gives heroine Bella Swan her first indication that something is amiss with her vampire love.
His turning-point line: "The Cullens don't come here."
Trimble on Saturday acknowledged that the Quileute didn't have enough input on the film adaptation of the LaPush-based tribe.
By coming to Quileute Days, Trimble -- who is Mescalero Apache and Lakota Native American -- who is said he was able to experience part of the Quileute culture.
He joined a group of 45 dancers and singers from the Quileute, Quinault and North Star tribes in a 2 ½-hour cultural arts program.
He wore black shorts with a red and white cape gown, and carried a decorative wolf headpiece in the ceremonial dance.
'Into our home'
"We are honored to have you into our home," said Sonny Woodruff, who organized the dance with tribal vice chairwoman Bonita Cleveland.
After the dance, Trimble gave Cleveland a robe he received from his mother.
"My mom said you have to give it back to me in 50 years when you're done with it," Trimble said.
"I did not expect anything like that," Cleveland said of Trimble's gift. "I feel very honored."
As part of the Quileute's tradition of returning a gift with another gift, Cleveland gave Trimble a robe depicting an eagle and a whale.
A combination of the movie star's appearance, and some quick planning by Jackie Jacobs and Justin Finkbonner of the Lummi tribe, contributed to the largest turnout at Quileute Days that tribal chairwoman Carol Hatch has seen since 1985, when the tribe rallied to keep the 100-year-old event running.
Hatch paused to estimate how many people attended Saturday's events, which included a parade.
"I'd say about 2,000," Hatch said, adding that the popularity of Twilight books and moviebrings "a whole new crowd" to LaPush
Guests paid $25 a head to attend the ceremonial dance.
Autographed photos of Trimble were selling fast at $5 apiece. Visitors could also have their picture taken with the actor for $10.
Proceeds from the event are going back to the tribe to support next year's Quileute Days, Hatch said.
Trimble flew in from Atlanta on Friday after taking a test in pursuit of his master's degree.
He already holds a math degree with a minor in philosophy.
He was scheduled to leave today.
The long-haired actor said he wants to become a epidemiologist to help stop the spread of disease in tribal nations.
He proudly admits that he lives his life "110 percent drug- and alcohol-free."
"I attribute my success to that," said Trimble, after signing about 100 autographs and taking scores of photos with "Twilight" fans.
Since he's "always sober," Trimble said he has the time to pursue his education while still being an actor.
He agreed to attend Quileute Days before he found out he would not have a role in the next movie of the series, "New Moon," which will be released in the fall.
Quileute Days is an annual three-day event with numerous activities in LaPush.
It ends today with softball tournament, canoe races and bingo on the schedule.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at rob.ollikainen@peninsuladaily news.com