AP: Visitors flock to timber town for Twilight's magic---
FORKS, Wash. - Pounding rain and heavy mist are constant in this timber town where logging's decline left a graveyard of rusting timber mills and unemployment. Businesses shut down. Parts of the local high school were condemned. Families started to drift away.I would love to take a trip to Forks!
Until an unlikely cast of vampires breathed new life into the town.
"I fell in love with it," says 18-year-old Samantha Cogar, who dragged her grandparents on a 2,500 mile roadtrip to Forks from Louisville, Ky., earlier this summer. "I can't wait to go back."
Cogar is one of thousands of visitors who have flocked to Forks in response to "Twilight," the hottest series to hit shelves since "Harry Potter." Set in Forks, on the gritty edge of the Olympic Mountain Range, the books have captured the hearts of readers around the world.
In a town framed by towering Douglas fir, hemlock and spruce and the occasional western red cedar, where rough, blue collar edges are tangible, the unexpected attention seems to be a second chance for the economy. Inspired by a world of make-believe, "Twilight" fans are bringing the town back to life.
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As the pages kept coming, the series' cultlike following increased. Before long, fans started showing up in Forks, looking to see if magic would spark when imagination collided with reality. What they found was a two-stoplight town where more than a foot of rain falls each month. A place where success is measured in sweat and four-wheel drive.
But Forks was quick to embrace the frenzied fans.
Forks' "Twilight"-inspired turn has been nothing short of magical, Marcia Bingham, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, says.
"We've probably had more than 100 people a day," says Bingham, who has eagerly watched as van after van of giddy readers — mostly female — pull up in front of the town's visitors center.