The next Chapter in Twilight Tourism

At the Wednesday noon meeting of the Forks Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Lissy Andros updated those in attendance on the upcoming Forever Twilight in Forks Festival (FTF) #Eclipse10 in September, as well as the sneak-peek opening of the FTF Collection at the Rainforest Arts Center in downtown Forks.

The FTF Festival will be held Sept. 14-17. A limited number — 300 — VIT tickets, Very Important Twilighters, are pre-sold each year and the sales are ahead of where they were last year, with 250 already sold. The tickets get fans into special events and a “Goody Bag” with special items only for VITs. Other activities during the Festival are also available through separate ticket sales. A quilting class, Cape Flattery Excursion, Paint and Sip classes and Breakfast with the Cullens are just some of the other activities planned to keep the FTF faithful engaged.

The Paint and Sip classes already have sold out four times and additional classes are being added.

Andros shared that ticket sales spiked up after the recent announcement that actor Jackson Rathbone would be a special guest for FTF 2017.

In 2008, he played Jasper Hale in the film “Twilight,” based on the best-selling novel by Stephenie Meyer. He reprised his role in the sequels to “Twilight,” “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.”

Other activities planned for fans include an FHS senior project blood drive and bake sale, an event at Forks High School, hike at Rialto Beach and a hike/5k run on the new Department of Natural Resources trail just above Forks.

Joining Andros on Wednesday for the presentation was FTF committee member Kelly Grable of Mobile, Ala. Members of the FTF planning committee live all over the world and this is Grable’s third year with the festival. She is in charge of the hike and 5k and a Twilight Bazaar. Grable owns a dance studio and during the festival will give dance lessons and oversee a costume contest.

She said, “This is my ninth visit to Forks, I love the area, “ adding, “This is a really big deal for fans.” Grable was in Forks on Wednesday to also help ready the FTF Collection for the opening on Saturday at noon with the official opening taking place on Thursday, May 25.

The FTF Collection is a new addition to continue to draw Twilight fans to Forks. The Collection includes Twilight movie costumes, movie props and other Twilight memorabilia that will be on permanent display at the Rainforest Arts Center in the heart of downtown Forks.

Andros said shared that the collection was coming along with help from many community members as well as community service crews from Olympic Corrections Center. OCC crews helped unload the crated items a few weeks ago when they arrived from Hollywood and also helped assembling display cases and other tasks as needed.

Andros said, “This has been an amazing experience, I think it will be a source of pride for the whole community.”

Chamber president Don Grafstrom explained how the ball got rolling with the initial idea for Twilight fans to save the facade on the 1925 Forks High School. Fans had donated money for that purpose or any other Twilight-related project and when saving the facade project was not feasible, the money remained unused. When Andros learned of the Twilight Saga auction the Chamber board voted to use the funds to purchase what costumes could be afforded. Andros also secured a spot for the Collection in the retail space at the city-owned Rainforest Arts Center.

Andros flew to Hollywood in November 2016 and attended the Prop Store Twilight Saga Auction at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. She said, “I had a certain amount of money — the pieces started going and I thought we have an opportunity we will not have again.” She said each time Forks won the bid on an item the crowd would cheer. “Some people that purchased items have even changed their wills and left the items to the collection when they die.”

“The fans want to have their things in the collection, too.”

When open, the FTF Collection will be free to the public but donations will be accepted. It also will offer a docent program where fans can come and work a shift at the museum while they are visiting.

Highlights from the Collection include: Jacob Black’s motorcycle, costumes worn by actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, Jacob’s letter to Bella, Sam Uley’s Jorts, props from Bella and Edward’s wedding, plus so much more and some very special surprises!

The Collection also includes the book series represented in many other languages.

After the Chamber meeting Andros met at the Rainforest Arts Center with a television crew from Beijing, China. They filmed a segment for a show that airs in that country and boasts 10 million viewers. The exhibit brought them to Forks.

The host of the show interviewed Andros and spoke in Chinese and English as she asked questions and described the items on display. The host also wanted a set of vampire teeth. Chamber President Don Grafstrom drove to Sully’s Drive-in and scored a couple sets, the teeth are free with the Bella Burger or the Twilight Punch. After the teeth were in place, the host growled for the camera. Andros later gave the TV crew a Twilight Tour and they also stopped at Forks High School.

The host of the show also presented Andros with a set of Twilight books printed in Chinese.

On Saturday, May 20, at noon at the Rainforest Arts Center, 35 N. Forks Ave., Twilight Fans and community members gathered for the Grand Opening of the collection. In addition to many community members, Andros thanked the Lloyd Allen Trust for their donation that allowed the project to come together.

Mayor Bryon Monohon spoke and thanked the community for playing along and welcoming the Twilight Fans saying, “Forks represents the town they wish they had.”

When the talking was over, the ribbon was cut, the celebratory cake was cut and the doors were opened on the FTF Collection.