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Twi-Hards Will Get Their Fill of Blood-Sucking Fun At Convention Devoted To The Best-Selling Vampire Saga And Blockbuster Movie

By Pamela Duque

Read on MiamiHerald.com

Fans of the Twilight series can indulge their passion for the romance novels during a three-day convention in Fort Lauderdale.

They’ll have a weekend to play, eat, party and take pictures with some of the actors from The Twilight Saga: New Moon , based on the second book in Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling saga about the tortured love triangle involving a high school girl, a vampire and a werewolf.

The Fantasy Twi-Life Tour, a Twilight -themed convention that will make nine stops around the country, will kick off its nationwide trip Friday through Dec. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

The timing couldn’t be better. New Moon opened in theaters Nov. 20.

New Moon actors attending the convention include Chaske Spencer (Sam Ulley), Gil Birmingham (Billy Black), Tyson Houseman (Quil Ateara), Alex Meraz (Paul), Tinsel Korey (Emily) and Justin Chon (Eric).

Behind the scenes is Mike Broder, 34, who for the past five years has been organizing themed conventions.

”I always thought it was cool for you to be able to meet the actors, celebrities and writers that you like and want to meet,” said Broder, who lives in Fort Lauderdale.

The comic book enthusiast attended his first celebrity convention when he was 10. Twenty-four years later, he decided he could give Twilight fans a similar experience — meeting their heroes and others hooked on the series.

”It’s one of the hottest movies, and you’re a fan, I’m a fan,” he said. ”There’s not a lot of chances to meet the actors. It’s just really hard.”

Twilight , the first book in Meyer’s series, now known as The Twilight Saga , debuted at No. 5 on The New York Times bestseller list after its release in 2005. Its sequel, New Moon , released in September 2006, spent more than 25 weeks at No. 1 on The Times bestseller list, according to Meyer’s website. In 2007, Eclipse was released, and in August 2008, Breaking Dawn , the final book in the series, sold 1.3 million copies in its first 24 hours.

Twilight , directed by Catherine Hardwicke, was released Nov. 21, 2008, and grossed $70.5 million its first weekend. New Moon grossed $140.7 million its first weekend. Both films star Kristen Stewart as teen Bella, Robert Pattinson as heartthrob vampire Edward and Taylor Lautner as hunky werewolf Jacob Black.

Kimbra Hickey, the woman whose hands hold an apple on the cover of Twilight , will be one of the guest speakers at the convention. Other convention events include trivia games, panel discussions, vendors, make-up sessions (if you want to look like your favorite Twilight character) and contests. In one contest, participants will have to act out a scene from the series for a chance to win prizes.

Two Orlando-based bands will perform during the event. The Twilighters, an Edward-Bella-couple-look-a-like, will play Twilight -themed songs, and Letters to Mantua, a piano rock band, will play Twilight -inspired music.

Other events included in VIP packages feature a cocktail party with the actors on Friday night, a banquet Saturday night and a breakfast with the actors on Sunday morning.

Other stops will include Baltimore, New Jersey, Denver and Cincinnati. Fort Lauderdale

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