I work in a public relations agency as my day job. It’s a fast-paced, hectic environment, which means we get quite a bit of turnover within our staff due to burn out or a desire to work with different clients. Recently, a new colleague moved into the space next to mine, and we started talking about the knick knacks on my desk. I have photos from past Twilight events pinned to my cubicle walls, including a signed post card from Stephenie Meyer, which prompted the question I get quite a bit from new people in my life:
“Wow – you still like Twilight? Is that… still a thing?”
If you’re reading this, you know it’s “still a thing.” That’s probably why you’re here; because Twilight still means something to you. But sometimes I have to wonder: would I be like my new colleague, baffled by the idea that something can live this long after its conclusion, if I hadn’t found my tribe within the fandom?
When I really think about it, the answer is probably yes. If I wasn’t as deeply ingrained in the fandom as I am, with friends from all over the world and a reason to keep talking about Twilight every day, I probably would have dropped out of the Twilight world after the last film left the theatre.
But I didn’t. And when I really think about the magic factor that keeps me active and interested, it all comes back to Forever Twilight in Forks.
It’s always Twilight in Forks
Maybe I’m getting sentimental, like I always do directly before and after the festival. The 2019 event is less than three weeks away, so naturally, my mind is buzzing with everything I have to do to get ready: pack, finalize the Olympic Coven’s travel, manage our fundraising efforts and more. It can be stressful, so maybe my mind starts drifting toward the festival as a mental reward for the work I put into getting there.
I said “maybe” twice in that paragraph. So let’s follow it up with what I know for sure.
- It took me a long time to find my sense of community within the Twilight fandom. I always had friend groups I was part of, but I didn’t have a real Twilight family until I joined the Olympic Coven and started traveling to Forks. I think this is because…
- I’ve always been most interested in the written story, not the celebrity element around Twilight and its films. A lot of the Twilight groups I was a member of in the past were “movies first, books second” types of communities. They cared a lot about casting and celebrity gossip and meeting the stars of the saga. Which means that…
- When I attended Twilight conventions as a fan, none of them felt right for me. Events like Twicon and the Creation convention series were extremely centred around the actors. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it just wasn’t for me. In fact, when I really thought about what I wanted from my fandom and event going experience, I realized I wanted to feel the way I did when I first read Twilight: like the story was real. Like if I went to Forks, I might see a vampire emerging from the mist. Like I could walk through the hallways at Forks High School and meet Bella herself.
And that’s where Forever Twilight in Forks comes in.
When I first signed on to appear at events in Forks as Alice, what really intrigued me was the concept. Instead of trying to recreate the fan conventions that had been done in the past, the Forks event focused on bringing Twilight to life, with the characters from the story – rather than the actors who played them – acting as its centrepiece. The ultimate intention was to make fans feel like the story could be real. It was so aligned with what I’d always wanted that there was no way I could pass up being part of that.
So I became Alice for Forks in 2013.
My first year as Alice in Forks. So much has changed since then!
Of course, the event has grown and evolved since then. It’s even acquired a new name and a celebrity element to appeal to a broader audience of fans. But at its heart, what I like about Forever Twilight in Forks is that it’s still a community festival that benefits a small town and prioritizes the fantastical elements of the story.
In Forks, you can walk through the doors of a community centre and end up as a guest at Edward and Bella’s wedding.
You can step onto the dance floor and find Jasper there waiting for you. Maybe he’ll take your hand, just like he did with Alice when they met at a diner in 1948.
You can go on a hike through the woods and see a flash of red hair through the trees as Victoria considers her next meal.
And, yes, you can even walk into a shop in town and have a frightening little monster compliment your outfit.
You look so cute today! Where did you get your jacket?
Being part of this experience and helping to craft a community around it is what kept the Twilight fandom alive for me. In Forks, I was able to find a sense of belonging and community that had previously eluded me. I think the same can be said for many people who have attended, and continue to attend, Forever Twilight in Forks. While other events have come and gone over the years, this one has been the constant for me; a personal bright spot in the fandom long after fan sites stopped updating regularly and local retailers stopped hosting meetups.
The cultural phenomenon around Twilight has quieted, but the fandom itself has never really gone away. In fact, six years after the release of the final Twilight film, the series is going through a bit of a renaissance. New fans are discovering the saga, and seasoned fans are renewing their interest as we hit milestones like the 10-year anniversary of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which we’re celebrating this year in Forks. There are Twilight podcasts now, more Twilight cosplayers, and new Twilight content being created every day on platforms like TikTok, Tumblr and Instagram.
You could cite any number of reasons for why Twilight is having a resurgence. Maybe it’s the 2015 release of Life and Death gaining late traction, or the ongoing Twilight memes that now appeal to a new audience, or even good old nostalgia. But as for me? I credit my annual trip to Forks – and the people I’ve met along the way – for making Twilight feel as alive for me today as it did 10 years ago.
Forever Twilight in Forks is hosted annually in Forks, Washington. This year’s event runs from September 12 – 15, 2019. Visit www.forevertwilightinforks.com to get your event tickets.