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.
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.
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?"
Copyright: The Guardian