'Twilight' turns small unknown town into tourist destination

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The Independent Online

Since the debut of the vampire phenomena that is Twilight, the small former logging town of Forks, Washington has experienced a surge in tourism with fans of the novel and film, called ‘Twilighters' or ‘Twi-hards,' coming in packs of female friends.

Forks, population 3,120, located in the northwest corner of America, where the book's setting is located, experienced a quadrupling of visitors over the last year.

Following the story of the romance between vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), tourists stop for photographs at Forks High School where Edward and Bella first met, the hospital, police station, and 'Welcome to Forks' sign.

To capitalize on the phenomenon of the movie, local shops sell Bella and Edward action figures, and boutiques such as Dazzled by Twilight offer souvenirs and tours. The Pacific Inn has turned guestrooms into Twilight Suites with black and red walls.

There are 'Bella Burgers' served up and a Twilight-themed restaurant is planned. Bella Italia Restaurant in nearby Port Angeles, where Edward and Bella have their first date, serves Twilight Syrah, from a local winery, and Bella's dish, mushroom ravioli.

The city of Forks, which estimates its revenues from sales tax rose 26 percent last year, declared Bella's birthday, September 12, as Stephenie Meyer Day to pay tribute to the author of the books.

Websites inform touring ‘Twilight' fans about Forks' attractions:
www.twilightontheolympicpeninsula.com and www.experiencewa.com/twilight .

Visitors stop at other locations from the film, such as the Hoh Rainforest and Quileute Indian Reserve, home to the character Jacob.

The release of New Moon is big news in Forks and the area plans "Bella Luna: A New Moon Celebration," including a screening of the film at the Lincoln Theater in Port Angeles, where Bella and her friends watched movies.

Some of the ‘Twilight' events include a scavenger hunt, wild animal presentation with an Olympic National Park ranger, and on Saturday night, "The Gathering of the Darkness Gothic Ball."

RC

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