By Arwyn Rice and Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News
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The flow of visitors has slowed from 73,000 in 2010 to 45,000 in 2011, according to the Forks Visitor Information Center.
That’s still a huge increase over the four-digit numbers of pre-Twilight days.
Interest in Twilight fills tours, according to Forks Chamber of Commerce Manager Marcia Bingham, and numerous stores in town carry memorabilia.
But the slide in visitor numbers still shows a slowdown in the popularity of the town that is the setting of the four-novel saga about teen love and vampires — which has spun off four movies, with a fifth due out in November.
So the Stephenie Meyer Day Committee — named after the author of the best-selling series — is working to keep the fans coming.
“The committee is trying to keep people coming to Forks,” said Rosemary Colandrea, spokeswoman for the 12-member committee that formed in 2011.
“Our slogan is: Come for Twilight. Stay for Forks.”
Colandrea said the group is considering ways to revive interest in Twilight.
“There’s a huge fan base,” she said.
“We want to keep it going.”
A new event this year will be Twilight weddings.
Thirty people can have weddings performed — or vows renewed — on three days in August, leading up to Aug. 13, the date Bella Swan married her vampire swain, Edward Cullen, in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” which was released in November.
“The wedding will look just like the wedding from the movie,” Colandrea said.
Couples will be surrounded by wisteria, and ceremonies will use an arch that is a copy of the one used in a parody of the movie on The Hillywood Show at www.thehillywoodshow, an Internet site known for its spoofs of the “Twilight Saga.”
The ceremonies — up to 10 each day — will be performed by Colandrea’s husband, Nino, who is a nondenominational minister.
No site has been confirmed yet, though “we’re negotiating with a few people to get an outdoor site for the weddings,” Colandrea said.
Nevertheless, reservations are being taken now through June 13.
The fees are $1,595 on Saturday, Aug. 11, $1,795 on Sunday, Aug. 12, and $1,995 on Monday, Aug. 13.
The Twilight weddings would be performed after the June 7 effective date of a new state law legalizing gay marriage — though the date could be delayed if opponents are successful in taking the issue to the voters.
If gay marriage is legal by August, “we’re open to everybody,” Colandrea said.
For more information about the weddings, visit www.twilightweddingsinforks.com or phone 360-374-0358.
Also planned is a film festival at this year’s Stephenie Meyer Day Weekend, which will be Sept. 14-16.
Hillary and Hannah Hindi, a pair of sisters who operate the online Hillywood Show, have confirmed that they will provide parodies, and other films are in the works, Colandrea said.
Last year’s Stephenie Meyer Day Weekend drew between 2,000 and 3,000 people, Colandrea said, and the committee hopes to at least match that this fall with expanded events.
The town’s first Stephenie Meyer Day was in 2006.
An idea the committee is developing is a Twilight museum.
Colandrea told about 35 people at a Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting last week that once the darkness falls on the “Twilight Saga” movie series and the flood of fans likely slows to a trickle, a Twilight museum could keep a steady flow of visitors coming to town.
She and other organizers have scheduled a grand opening date, Sept. 13, 2014 — corresponding with Bella’s birthday — but have no location and no investors.
Colandrea asked Forks business people at the Wednesday meeting to invest in the museum and help find an affordable location.
“If we had something permanent here, it would draw visitors,” Colandrea said later.
A permanent museum would give Twilight visitors a place to go, a home for the many Twilight-themed items that already exist in Forks and a fitting place to display collections from other areas of the country, she said.
It would feature original and recreated items from the movies, The Hillywood Show, recreations of movie sets or scenes from the books and posters, scripts and other items.
Colandrea said the committee has purchased the arch from the prom scene filmed at The View Point Inn in Corbett, Ore., from the first movie, “Twilight,” and the set director’s handbook.
The arch, which is currently being shipped to Forks in three pieces, would serve as the formal entrance to the museum, Colandrea said.
She declined to reveal the purchase price.
“Twilight” collector John Henson, of Nevada, who owns the largest collection of “Twilight” memorabilia — including all the furniture in the movie set of Bella Swan’s bedroom — has given the museum organizers the right of first refusal to purchase or lease the items, she said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or email@example.com.