New Gallery Pumps Fresh Blood Into Town's Vampire Tourism
Civic boosters in an Olympic Peninsula rainforest town are looking to a trove of movie props and costumes to maintain the flow of vampire tourism. A collection related to the bestselling "Twilight" teen vampire romance series, which was set in real life Forks, Washington, opened to the public there Thursday.
"The Twilight phenomenon is far from over," said Lissy Andros, executive director of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. The Twilight Saga includes four books and five movies, the last of which premiered in 2012.
One aspect of Andros' job is to keep fans from around the world coming to her remote, two-stoplight town on Twilight pilgrimages. Hence a brand new attraction: A long-term display in a one room gallery of Twilight movie costumes and props, many purchased at a Hollywood auction last year.
"Providing this for the fans is a great way to not only ensure that the fans we have now will come back, but that we will develop new fans," Andros said in an interview Friday.
The so-called Forever Twilight in Forks Collection includes costumes worn on set, two motorcycles used by the stars and a display showing the wide range of Twilight Saga translations.
"Ever since the Twilight phenomenon has taken place in Forks, many, many people have thought that Forks needed some kind of Twilight museum," Andros said. “The other exciting opportunity is to reach those people who may not know that much about Twilight but can still come in, enjoy and maybe understand a little bit what has gone on with the Twilight phenomenon in Forks, Washington.”
The collection opened to the public on Thursday at the city-owned Rainforest Arts Center in downtown Forks. There is no admission charge, but visitors are encouraged to make a donation.
Andros said she traveled to a Twilight prop auction at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood last November with a roughly $5,000 budget and ambitions to buy two or three items.
"By the time I left I had spent about $10,000," Andros said. "I spent an extra $5,000 just because I really didn't think that was an opportunity we could pass up."
Each time the Forks Chamber won the bid on an item a cheer went up, she recalled.
"The fans in the audience were so ecstatic every time Forks won something," Andros said. "Even if they were bidding against us, they knew that if Forks got it, they were getting it."
The purchased items and other donations to the collection span all five movies. Highlights include pieces worn by actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, props from the lead characters' wedding and costumes from the final battle scene.
The Twilight Saga concerns a teenage girl who falls in love with a handsome vampire. Later it turns into a love triangle and werewolves appear.
Novelist Stephenie Meyer settled her fictional clan of vampires in Forks based on an online search for the wettest place in America. However, none of the Twilight movies were actually filmed there. As is often the case with Hollywood movies set in the Pacific Northwest, the on-location filming was mostly done in British Columbia.