Invaded! How one small town became overrun with vampires
Residents of Forks, Washington State, are still stunned by what a piece of assiduous Googling from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer has unleashed on their town. Looking for the US's rainiest location in which to set her vampire series, she lighted upon the small town, population 3,221.
Fans of the books and film, based around Bella Swan and her dreamy vampire love interest Edward Cullen, began pouring into Forks. Today hundreds visit the town daily; its visitor count for June was more than 8,000 - around the number who used to come in a year. Restaurants have Twilight-themed menus with dishes such as Bellasagne, shops sell Twilight items, and tours cover the books' locations.
The logging town has been transformed, says Mike Gurling of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. "Two years ago we did not have a cash register or credit card terminal. Now our sales of anything that says 'Forks' have increased dramatically." A literary symposium was held last month in Forks high school, including - unusually for a symposium - "an actual, real Prom". Chris Cook, editor of the local paper and author of guide book Twilight Territory, says the school's principal was mobbed at a Seattle airport when a teenage fan spotted his Forks Spartan jacket and started yelling, "He's from Forks, he's from Forks!" The fervour is such, Cook says, that a local evangelist, Hallelujah Bill, has started preaching to fans about the dangers of becoming cult followers of the books.
While some don't like the attention Twilight has brought, others are enjoying the kudos. Cook says that "traditionally, Forks has been considered by Seattle folks as the sticks, the home of loggers and simple rural ways. Now it's a bit of a status symbol."
Susan Brager, who runs the Miller Tree Inn, now also known as Cullen House, says that although she isn't a huge fan of the books - "not great literature" - she definitely appreciates the tourists. "They like it when it rains," she says.
"What could be better than that for a community that gets more than 120in each year?"
Source: Twilighters Site
Posted: July 13, 2009
Original Site: Guardian UK Site
Written: Alison Flood
The Guardian, Monday 13 July 2009