In the latest installment of the A.V. Club's series Pop Pilgrims, we take a trip to Forks, Washington. No matter what you think of the merits of the Twilight series of books and movies, you can't deny that they were successful. And some of that success rubbed off on the tiny logging town of Forks.
Twilight has had a marked impact on the town, which found its main industry, logging, struggling with the downturn in the housing market. About 20 percent of the town’s residents live in poverty, and the average income for a family in town is only $38,844. But by 2008, the town got about 19,000 visitors, and by 2010, the town was pulling in 73,000 visitors a year. Twilight themed stores popped up and even the local grocery store started tagging select deli counter items as “Jacob’s favorite.” That silly little tween book series helped a struggling town flourish.
It’s easy to see Forks’ Twilight pride. Nearly every sign in town boasts a vampire pun or a phrase welcoming fans of the Cullen clan. The town has even launched its own Twilight-themed festival, Stephenie Meyer Day, which draws both local families and Twilight obsessives. The fervor has even spilled over to La Push, Washington, home of fictional Jacob Black’s very real Quileute Indian tribe, and Port Angeles, Washington, the “big city” of 19,056 residents that Bella and her friends frequent for movies and prom dress shopping.
What the people of Forks think about the Twilight books and movies matters little alongside the prosperity that Stephenie Meyer showered on the town when she decided to place her vampire story there (Meyer had never been to Forks before writing the books). It was a gift, and the people of Forks are going to make as much of it as they can, for as long as they can. Take a video tour of Forks and see how the town has embraced its new notoriety at the A.V. Club. (Warning: auto play video.)