“Ever since Bella fell for Edward — and readers fell for the vampire-themed series by Stephenie Meyer — visitors in the tens of thousands have flocked to Forks, Wash. A good starting point for “Twilight” tourists is the Forks Chamber of Commerce. Visitors can get maps, brochures and other information about “Twilight” destinations, including Forks City Police Department, where Bella’s father works; Forks Outfitters, where Bella works; and Forks High School, where Bella first meets Edward. At the chamber, visitors can also have their photo taken with Bella’s truck and see a lighted gazebo like the one Bella and Edward danced in at the prom. “We love being the center of the ‘Twilight world,’ ” said the chamber’s director, Marcia Bingham. “We have a well-trained staff that speaks fluent ‘Twilight.’ ” Two tourism companies, Dazzled by Twilight and Team Forks, also offer guided tours of Twilight-related sights in the region.”
CNN has a list of five great movie locations to visit. Twilight is on the list and is especially prominent in their photo gallery. Minor point is that they feature Forks and La Push and don’t have a single photo up of any actual filming location in Portland, Vancouver, or Montepulciano. We suppose it’s the thought that counts.
“3. “Twilight” series, Washington state
The Forks, Washington, area has turned into “Twilight” heaven. Visitors can enjoy dinner at Bella Italia in Port Angeles, where Edward and Bella had their first date; stop by Forks Outfitters, where Bella worked; and travel to Forks High School, where the two first met (rumored to be the filming location for the school scenes.)
Additionally, the area boasts stand-in homes of the Swans and Cullens and motels such as the Dew Drop Inn, complete with “Bella’s suite” featuring black and red bedding.”
Check out the story and fellow nominees on CNN
Here’s a recap of exactly what is going down:
1) Initial plans called for the facade of the 1920’s era building to be left as a free-standing structure in tribute to the original building.(see artist’s rendering at left).
2) It was announced on Monday that unexpected costs to make the structure safe and stable would run far ahead of what was budgeted
3) Forks, due to a legal requirement, has to hold a public hearing to determine what if anything should be done to save the facade. The date for the hearing is not as of yet set. The Peninsula Daily News gave the specifics of this requirement:
“The conditional use permit granted by the city to do the construction work requires the district to give the public time to save the facade through alternate funding, Superintendent Diana Reaume said Monday.
The bid by Primo Construction Inc. of Carlsborg includes an alternate additional $271,000 to reinforce the facade to remain as a memory of the 1925 school building, the rest of which was torn down in June.
“Our efforts to save the facade are not over,” Reaume said.
Under terms of the city conditional use permit, the school district must hold a public hearing and give the public 45 days to come up with alternative funding, Reaume said.
The date for the hearing has not been set, but will be shortly, Reaume said.
“Also, even though the alternate bid [to reinforce the facade] was rejected at this time, the district has 45 more days to go back and accept any of the alternatives previously rejected,” she said.”
4) Approximately 2 years ago when the Lexicon visited the town, Lori, Laura and other Lexiconers talked to various town members about Twilighters doing something for Forks. This was prior to the movies being released and Breaking Dawn wasn’t yet in print when this conversation began. At that time there was talk of trying to save the entire building and the Twilighters for Forks (a charitable 501c3 corp) was established to raise funds that could go towards saving the building or for the youth of Forks should the building not prove savable. We supported that group’s efforts. It should be noted that this group has/had no official decision making capacity over Forks High School construction. They are not in any way part of the school administration, just people in town who cared and wanted to try to do something for the kids.
The fund is still active, they have not decided exactly what this money should go towards but they are weighing their options. There was some widespread misconception that this fund was a brand new effort to fund the facade when some Twilight fans found an old link on the Forks Forum website. That link has since been edited to remove the Lexicon name because we haven’t been involved with that fund in quite some time. To quote one of the fund administrators, :
“Now that we seem to be back in the spotlight again, I talked to Chris at the Forks Forum and we are looking at updating the Twilighters for Forks page to explain where we are at and what we propose to do with any contributions. Until we get some feedback from the school and the construction manager, we are not sure what to put on there.”
5) There are currently bricks from the old building being salvaged and sold as a fund raising effort for the Forks High School scholarship fund. The district superintendent also spoke about this to the Peninsula Daily News:
“Because of the many people with memories of the high school and actual Twilight fans with attachment to the building, the district is in the process of having 1,500 bricks from the demolished portion salvaged, Reaume said.
The bricks must be professionally cleaned, then will be put up for bid at the 2011 Forks Scholarship Auction.
The money from the auction will not be used to save the facade(emphasis Twilight Lexicon), Reaume said.
“That money will go right back to the kids,” she said”
6) We just got a press release from the Dazzled By Twilight store that is located in Forks. They are the folks that do the driving tours around town. They are collecting money that will hopefully go to saving the facade if that is in fact that the town actually decides to save it. This is their own independent undertaking; they are not a 501c3; they are not connected with or have the authority over the school in any way. If the facade is not going to be saved, they state, “If we don’t raise enough money to save the facade, all proceeds will be donated to the Forks School District Stadium Fund.”
As this story continues to develop, we will continue to bring you the latest updates.
“School officials still hope that something can be done to save the facade at Forks High School as a freestanding monument on the redeveloped campus.
According to the conditional use permit granted to the Quillayute Valley School District by the city last summer, the district must hold a public hearing and give the community 45 days in which to find alternate funding to pay for reinforcing the brick facade.
Reinforcement and renovation would be required for the facade to remain as a stand-alone structure as a memory of the 1925 portion of the school, which figures descriptively in the Twilight saga of novels.
A date has not been set for the public hearing.
The board voted Friday night that the facade would be too expensive to pay for out of the bond issue passed by voters last February.”
The Forks Forum has also been covering the story. Their council is pictured above discussing the matter at a public meeting. (Photo credit: Chris Cook) Their coverage states that:
“Of particular interest is how much the winning contractor will charge to restore and stabilize the facade of the section of the circa 1925 Forks High School that was spared when D&H Enterprises demolished most of the building over the summer. Estimated costs ran from a low of about $19,000 to a high of several hundred thousand dollars.
Some of the base bids announced ranged from $12.6 million to $14 million-plus. The final dollar figures of each bid opened will take several days to calculate. Construction work is scheduled to begin later this fall.
A $1.5 million woody bio-mass school heating plant is near completion, and a ribbon cutting is scheduled for mid-October. The plant is designed to use wood chips to heat the near addition.”
The original building of the Forks High School campus that dated back to the 1920’s was taken down earlier this year. When we were in Forks last year, one of the school staff members told us about how difficult is was to maintain the aging building. Just to heat it barely effectively they had to crank up an aging and inefficient system at 3:00am. Even then, the students were still wearing coats in the building.
Originally, it was hoped that the historic facade could be preserved, but this now seems impractical. According to the Penninsula Daily News:
“The School Board was hoping to incorporate the front of the building — left standing when the rest of the condemned structure was demolished last summer — into the design of the new campus.
The facade would have been left as a stand-alone structure as a part of a grand entrance to the school.
The brick design of the leaky old building figures heavily in the descriptions of the Twilight saga, which has propelled Forks and the West End to worldwide acclaim.
But saving the facade would cost $271,000 on top of the $12.2 million construction bid accepted Friday, and its just not feasible to spend the money that way, said Bill Rohde, School Board president.”
See more on the Penninsula Daily News.
Via Gossip Cop
Each year Forks Washington celebrates Stephenie Meyer Day on September 13th, Bella’s birthday. This year they are holding the festivities on the weekend since the 13th falls in the middle of the week.
Dazzled By Twilight sent us this press release highlighting some of the events. From past experience, if you are thinking of going GET A HOTEL ROOM NOW! THEY GO QUICKLY!
Dazzled by Twilight and the City of Forks Celebrate Bella’s Birthday by Hosting 4th Annual Stephenie Meyer Day September 10th-12th 2010
Who , What, When, Where
The citizens of Forks are gearing up for another fun and festive event weekend by hosting the fourth annual Stephenie Meyer Day! During this weekend in Forks, citizens and guests will experience a plethora of activities dedicated to the Twilight series and the author who penned them, all in the very place where the wildly successful series is set. Dazzled by Twilight, the town’s most exclusive Twilight-inspired store, will hold a number of fun events that you’ll be sure not to miss.
In addition to Dazzled by Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer Day events, they will be launching two new programs including their free news text program (text DAZZLED to 313131 to sign up now!)* as well as fun letters from Edward, Bella or any Twilight character called Letters From Forks. Join us for a weekend you’ll never forget!
*Standard messaging rates apply.*
Friday, September 10th 2010
6pm-7:45pm- Private Media/Fan site Tour of Forks! Join Dazzled by Twilight on a private, exclusive tour of Forks and the highlighted Twilight stops along the way. Visit Charlie and Bella’s house, the treaty line and the beautiful Rialto Beach among others. Ask questions about Forks, Dazzled by Twilight and any of the weekend’s upcoming events during the tour for any articles or coverage! It’s the perfect way to get oriented. Space is limited, so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan sites and accredited media only.
6pm-8pm- Author signing. Join us at the Dazzled by Twilight store for a free Twilight-inspired author signing. Meet the author and get your book(s) autographed personally! Author TBD.
8pm-10pm- Dazzled by Twilight Preview Night! Come to the Dazzled by Twilight store and enjoy 10% off your entire purchase. Check out new merchandise, exclusive sales and tons more during these two special hours! It’s a shopping party! Spend $100 or more in the store and receive a free commemorative Bella’s Birthday tee shirt!
9pm-1am- Bella’s Ball at the Twilight Lounge! Join Dazzled by Twilight and the Forks Chamber of Commerce for a fun night of music and dancing. Enjoy fabulous food and drink specials, including the Twilight Lounge’s very own mixed drink sensation, the Vampire Bite! This event is free and open to the public. All ages until 10pm.
Saturday, September 11th 2010
8am-8pm- Be sure to take one of Dazzled by Twilight’s exclusive tours of Forks, including all of the great Twilight hot spots in addition to a visit to Rialto Beach, where you can see a dazzling view of La Push’s James Island.
8am-8pm- Exclusive Dazzled by Twilight Scavenger Hunt Extravaganza! This scavenger hunt will lead you all over Forks, stopping at Twilight hot spots and Forks businesses. The fun hunt will coincide with the Forks tours led by Dazzled by Twilight, but anyone in Forks can participate! Simply text DAZZLED to 313131 and you will receive text clues that take you to each destination. A trivia question will be revealed at that location, where you’ll have to text the right answer in order to receive the next clue. Those who get all answers correct and present a code at the Dazzled by Twilight store will receive a fantastic prize! *Standard messaging rates apply.*
10am-6pm- Letters From Forks! Dazzled by Twilight is pleased to now offer letters written to friends and family from Twilight characters, mailed right from Forks! Be sure to visit the kiosk set up outside the Dazzled by Twilight store (weather permitting) and send a customized letter from any Twilight character, in his/her own style, to a friend or family member. Any occasion will do; birthdays, anniversaries, or just because! This service is only available through Dazzled by Twilight!
7pm-9pm- Forks’ Twilight Fashion Show. Have a wardrobe of Twilight gear in your closet and nowhere to show it off? Now’s your chance! Come to the Twilight Lounge for a free, fun fashion show that celebrates the crazy fashion of Twilighters! Any Twilight-inspired apparel will do (family friendly). Don’t forget to accessorize with shoes, jewelry, wild and crazy makeup and funky hairdos! The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Dazzled by Twilight’s huge merchandise store.
9pm-11pm- Mitch Hansen Concert! Join Dazzled by Twilight in welcoming back to the Twilight Lounge the Mitch Hansen Band! These fandom favorites will serenade Forks citizens and visitors with Twilight-inspired music in a free concert.
Sunday, September 12th 2010
8am-12pm- Bella’s Birthday Breakfast. As the weekend festivities come to a close, recap your weekend with friends new and old at The Lodge in Forks, the Dazzled by Twilight’s very own restaurant! Enjoy specials on their breakfast menu in celebration of Bella’s birthday.
For a complete listing of all Forks Chamber of Commerce Stephenie Meyer Day events, please visit their informative web site at:
Media is invited to participate in any and all events!
About Dazzled by Twilight
Dazzled by Twilight is the premier company dedicated to all things Twilight. Based in Forks, Dazzled by Twilight offers a huge selection of Twilight-related merchandise in their beautifully designed store. Their bus tour company hosts exclusive tours that highlight the locations in Forks mentioned in the series, and features in-character tour guides, trivia and prizes. Dazzled by Twilight also owns and operates other Twilight-themed businesses in Forks, including a venue and night club called the Twilight Lounge, The Lodge in Forks Restaurant and The Dungeon, a Volturi-themed bar based on the vampire hierarchy in the books. You can learn more about Dazzled by Twilight at www.DazzledbyTwilight.com. To sign up for Dazzled by Twilight’s free news texts, simply text DAZZLED to 313131. *Standard messaging rates apply.*
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal:
““Twilight” tourism is widely credited for shielding Forks merchants from the recession, and state sales-tax data support that view.
Taxable retail sales statewide fell 15 percent to $100.8 billion between 2007 and 2009, according to data gathered by the state Department of Revenue. We have the recession to thank for that.
But in the city of Forks, taxable retail sales during the same period increased 15 percent to $46.2 million. In fact, Forks’ taxable retail sales in 2009 are the city’s highest in the Department of Revenue’s online database, which goes back to 1994. We probably have “Twilight” to thank for that.”
Much of this money is going to much needed renovation. The oldest portion of Forks High School that was built back in the 1920’s and which has been a complete nightmare to heat efficiently is now being torn down and a new building (where kids won’t have to wear coats in the winter) will be erected.
This is so not cool. Someone decided to take the sign from in front of the Forks home that has been tagged by the town as the unofficial Swan residence. It’s the second time this has happened. Additionally the Chamber of Commerce had to deal with the gas cap being stolen from the red Bella’s truck parked outside the information center.
So if anyone knows who took the sign, kindly return it! The Forks Chamber of Commerce is being very gracious and is not currently pressing charges, they just want the sign back.
Part of the appeal here is that it doesn’t look like a professinal tourism sign that is nailed down within an inch of its life (see above photo). It’s going to start to get ridiculous if they have to cement and bolt the sign down because people can’t leave what isn’t theirs alone! TY to Christina for alerting us to this.
Forks Chief of Police for the last decade, Mike Powell has lost his job according to the Forks Forum. Newly elected mayor, Bryon Monohon, dismissed Powell. Monohon, who just took office on January 1, 2010 issued the official statement, “I have determined that there is a need for new leadership in the Forks Police Department. As a result, and pursuant to FMC 2.30.010, I have dismissed Mike Powell from the position of Chief of Police for the City of Forks…In the days ahead I will be further assessing the direction and structure of the Forks Police Department. In addition, I will be developing my expectations for the new chief of police in relationship to the operations of the Forks Police Department.”
Many Twilight fans have encountered Powell over the years and his afflable nature regarding the Twilight Saga and Charlie comparisons. He routinely would pose for picture and “arrest’ fans when asked time permitting. We met Mike last Summer while attending the Summer School in Forks Symposium and captured this video of him talking about how Twilight has impacted his life.