The city of Forks has seen its tourism numbers decline but they continue to find ways of attracting Twilight visitors.
Twilight tourism visits fall off in Forks, but town keeping its book-movie series hopes alive
Even the Quillayute Valley School District had to consider the Twilight impact when it made plans to remove the old Forks High School facade and wooden sign, which were popular Twilight landmarks.
The sign was preserved, but only portions of the facade could be saved and are located inside the new school.
The craze started after the first book, Twilight, was published in October 2005, with the unsuspecting town featured only because it was remote and had the most rain in the continental U.S., Meyer wrote on her blog.
It was slow at first, Bingham said.
“The first people came in 2006 and walked in the door kind of sheepishly,” Bingham said.
“They said, ‘We’re here because of a book,’” she said.
Now, Bingham said, though Twilight may be the reason for visitors’ first visit, it isn’t necessarily the draw for their second.
Many return to Forks after a Twilight trip to spend more time at Olympic National Park’s Hoh Rain Forest or a Pacific beach, or to fish in the pristine rivers, she said.
“They come for Twilight, but they stay for Forks,” Bingham said.
More about Forks Tourism numbers:
Twilight in Forks: By the NumbersBy Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily NewsFORKS — The number of visitors who checked in at the Forks Visitor Information Center dropped from a peak of 73,000 visitors in 2010 to 45,000 in 2011.
But that still puts the town way ahead of pre-Twilight times, said Marcia Bingham, director of the Forks Chamber of Commerce and the visitor center.
The number of visitors who checked in at the visitor center was 5,575 in 2005, the year the first book in Stephenie Meyer’s four-novel series, Twilight, was released.
Within a month of its release in October that year, the book was in fifth place on The New York Times’ best-seller list and later peaked at No. 1.
New Moon was released in 2006, Eclipse in 2007 and Breaking Dawn in 2008 — and the rise in visitors to Forks — where Meyer located most of the action of the novels — followed the climb in sales of the best-selling novels.
Visitors to Forks numbered 6,386 in 2006, 10,295 in 2007 and 18,736 in 2008, with most fans of the books about teen love and vampires.
In November 2008, the first movie based on the series, “Twilight,” was released, and from there, the rise in visitors was meteoric.
In 2009, 70,000 visitors arrived, followed by 73,000 in 2010, according to statistics kept by the visitor center.
“And that only includes the people who signed in at the visitor center,” Bingham said.
Twilight of an era, or a new dawn? Forks promoters hope to keep fans comingBy Arwyn Rice and Leah Leach“The committee is trying to keep people coming to Forks,” said Rosemary Colandrea, spokeswoman for the 12-member committee that formed in 2011.
“Our slogan is: Come for Twilight. Stay for Forks.”
Colandrea said the group is considering ways to revive interest in Twilight.
“There’s a huge fan base,” she said.
“We want to keep it going.”
A new event this year will be Twilight weddings.
Thirty people can have weddings performed — or vows renewed — on three days in August, leading up to Aug. 13, the date Bella Swan married her vampire swain, Edward Cullen, in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” which was released in November.
“The wedding will look just like the wedding from the movie,” Colandrea said.