When Sharon Schaffer first discovered the “Twilight” books, she did nothing but read for three weeks.
“No dishes, no laundry, nothing,” Schaffer, of New York Mills, said.
So when she and her friend Nicole Cocomazzi of Utica heard actor Peter Facinelli – better known as Carlisle Cullen in the “Twilight” movies – was coming to the area Saturday, she made sure she was one of the first in line to meet him.
“It’s a modern day Romeo and Juliet,” Schaffer said of the story.
Schaffer and Cocomazzi were a few of the eager adults who anxiously waited in line among plenty of giddy teenage girls and groups of ogling 20-somethings for their chance to meet the movie star at City Hall Saturday night.
His appearance – met by screaming fans – marked the finale of Fright Nights at Hanna Park, an outdoor Halloween festival sponsored by 92.7 WXUR.
Facinelli, who is married to actress Jennie Garth of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame, is best known for his role in the film adaptation of the vampire romance novels by Stephenie Meyer. He also plays Dr. Fitch Cooper in “Nurse Jackie,” a dark comedy that airs on Showtime.
It was Facinelli’s first visit to Utica, and it would be a quick one, he said. He flew in Saturday night for the appearance and planned to leave this morning.
Though his time in Utica would be short, Facinelli did offer an idea for a slogan for the city.
“How Utica doing?” Facinelli joked. “You should put that on T-shirts.”
Facinelli said his own plans for Halloween include decorating his home with orange lights, helping his three daughters dress up and orchestrating his own unique Halloween costume – a Justin Bieber zombie.
Event organizer Bill Keeler, general manager of Keeler Productions and host of “The Keeler Show” on 92.7 FM, said he was happy to be able to help bring a big-name star to Utica.
“I think we should shoot high,” Keeler said. “I want to be able to say, ‘I don’t have to travel somewhere else to do big things.’”
Although turnout for Fright Night on Friday was low, Keeler said Saturday’s crowd of over 3,000 more than made up for the slow start. Saturday’s event also featured a concert from band Dashboard Nixon and haunted hayrides through the city’s underground parking garage.
And Facinelli wasn’t the only “Twilight” persona at the event.
Kimbra Hickey, who has a lesser-known role in the vampire series phenomenon, also was at the event. Hickey was the hand model used for the now famous book cover of author Meyer’s first installment of the series. On the book cover, her hands cup a red apple.