The Annual Fan Festival in Washington State That's Keeping Twin Peaks Alive
The lives of cultural objects — books, films, TV shows — can take funny paths sometimes. In some cases, as with the 2018 blockbuster film Black Panther, they are loved instantly. In other cases, they stumble out of the gate and only become appreciated later on, like the works of Edgar Allan Poe and many a posthumously-famous author. In still other cases, these objects may remain largely ignored by the masses for all eternity, but still manage to strike a chord with a very specific audience whose members are often so fiercely loyal that they become referred to as that object's "cult following."
When it comes to Twin Peaks, David Lynch's 1990 crime drama about a high school girl who is murdered in a small Washington town, I'd venture a guess that the final description from the preceding paragraph is most fitting. At least in my universe, small as it may be, I know of no one other than myself that has even heard of the show. Maybe it was popular when it first came out, maybe it wasn't — I don't know, I wasn't around — but I can tell you that at least among a certain stratum of people Twin Peaks is still very much alive and well.
An example of just how alive and well that fan base is? Look no further than the annual Twin Peaks Festival, which is held in Washington State each summer. Inspired by the film premiere of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which was held in North Bend, Washington, in August 1992, the Twin Peaks Festival was started by a pair of fans from — of all places — Romeo, Michigan, and is still going strong today, even though different organizers have taken the reins over the years.
Recent editions of the festival have been held in places like Snoqualmie, North Bend, and Fall City, three communities in King County, Washington that were used as filming locations for the show, especially for stock footage (Benjamin Horne's Great Northern Hotel sits atop Snoqualmie Falls, wouldn't you know?). In years past, Seattle has also come into the equation as far as festival events are concerned, such as the film night that was hosted at the Seattle Art Museum during the festival's first year.
From what I've read, the organizers try to get one or two original cast members to make an appearance each year. Michael Horse (Deputy Chief Hawk) and Carel Struycken (The Giant) have appeared in recent years, as have a host of actors and actresses who played various roles in the 2017 reboot of the show. Fans get the chance to mingle with the celebrity guests during a banquet that usually features a costume contest and a replica of the Black Lodge, the strange place Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) would sometimes visit in his dreams.
Another major highlight of the festival is the bus tour that takes fans around to different filming locations used for the show. Stops include the bridge Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine) is shown walking across in season one, the Packard Sawmill, the Twin Peaks Sheriff Station, and, of course, Snoqualmie Falls, which would be a sight to see even if they had nothing to do with the cult television show. These locations and others seen in Twin Peaks were neatly compiled in an article written by Condé Nast Traveler contributor Will Levith from a couple years back entitled "10 Real-Life 'Twin Peaks' Locations You Can Visit Today".
Other events typically on the agenda at the Twin Peaks Festival include the annual David Lynch Film Night, during which fans are treated to an evening of the Twin Peaks' creator's shorts, oddities, and one of his feature length films; Laura's Picnic, which features lunch with the celebrity guests, cherry pie for dessert, a Tibetan rock throwing contest, and a hike to several filming sites, among other activities; and Leland Palmer Karaoke Night, which I would guess is self-explanatory, but here's a video of Leland (Ray Wise) providing dinnertime entertainment, anyway.
Aside from all the festival has to offer, what a great excuse to visit a part of Washington that you might not normally think about exploring — not that you really need an excuse to wander off into parts unknown. Though I sadly haven't been to the Pacific Northwest just yet, I can only imagine the natural views that lay in wait, especially in places like Snoqualmie and North Bend.
If all these details have got you excited about this annual fan fest, I'm afraid now is the moment that I drop the bomb: as the festival typically only accommodates a few hundred guests, tickets often sell out pretty quickly. To see if there are any left for the next fest, head on over to twinpeaksfest.com.