Bitten by the Twilight bug

‘New Moon’ premiere was happy day for fans

Lucky fans Brianna Zeno, Courtney Bowers and Rachel Hughes got to go the premiere of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” where stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner made an appearance at a fund raiser and benefit screening for Regal Cinema’s Variety -- The Children’s Charity of Eastern Tennessee.

Lucky fans Brianna Zeno, Courtney Bowers and Rachel Hughes got to go the premiere of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” where stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner made an appearance at a fund raiser and benefit screening for Regal Cinema’s Variety -- The Children’s Charity of Eastern Tennessee.

Last Tuesday, Regal’s Pinnacle Theater at Turkey Creek was filled with the sounds of screaming teenage girls, thanks to the Knoxville premiere of “New Moon,” the second film of the Twilight series.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event with a few of my best friends. As we arrived at the theater, hundreds of fans were lining the parking lot, most of them with no tickets, but longing for a glimpse of stars Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob, and Kristin Stewart, who plays Bella.

We were allowed to enter at 5:30, walking a glamorous red carpet that made us all feel like real Hollywood celebrities. There were posters all around, a massive “New Moon” book to pose with, and Team Edward and Team Jacob signs hanging over the entrances.

For any Twilight fan, the setting was a dream come true. Inside, the reception provided free food and beverages for all ticket holders. A crowd quickly formed around the stage where we knew the stars would greet us. The crowd was more diverse than one would think -- from 16-year-old girls like myself to moms who were just as in love with the fictional vampires as we all were!

My friends and I squeezed our way through the multitude, and we eventually settled into our spots, about ten feet away from the stage. Twilight trivia games were played with selected fans, but the crowd was far too excited to focus on anything but the thought of meeting the beloved actors.

Our impatience grew as time continued to pass, and by 7 p.m., you could hear the complaints of those wearing uncomfortable shoes. Still, one glance out the window quickly reminded me that I was very lucky to be standing where I was. Girls outside were climbing trees just to get a peak of what I was seeing. We were finally told that Taylor and Kristin had arrived, but Kristin was waiting on another dress to be delivered to her.

Despite knowing there was still longer to wait, a buzz of excitement swept through the crowd with the thought that the moment was almost here.

My friends and I entertained ourselves by quoting Twilight and making up songs about our experience. There was definitely nothing that could make the night anything less than amazing for us.

Robin Wilhoit of WBIR-TV then walked onto the stage, and we knew that it was almost showtime! Outside, cars began to arrive as Regal executives made their entrance. Each time a dark vehicle pulled up, the room was filled with excited shrieks.

At last, after nearly three hours of anticipation, Taylor and Kristin stepped out of the Escalade. The room went into hysterics as we watched them sign autographs for the fans outside. Each second seemed to take a lifetime as they slowly inched further down the red carpet towards the building. My friends and I began to chant, “Taylor! Taylor!” and everyone quickly joined us, and our enthusiasm created even more of a frenzy.

Finally, the stars were inside. Kristin was dressed in a cute and simple black and white dress, and Taylor looked unbelievably handsome in his tux. We screamed and squealed as they drew nearer, and we all cheered even more as Taylor turned toward us and smiled.

The breathtaking “werewolf” was a couple yards away from us, and our human heroine was beside him. The moment was surreal as cameras flashed, and we pushed our way closer to them. They said a few words and were given a “New Moon” tile to add to the Regal Pinnacle stone walkway. None of their words seemed to register, as I looked through the lens of my cell phone camera, trying to capture every second of the magic. All that I could think was that I was really here, and so were Taylor and Kristin.

It was over too quickly, and the celebrities left the stage, leaving us eager for another smile or maybe an autograph. That disappointment disappeared as we realized it was time to watch the movie, three days before anyone else would be able to.

The theater was filled to the brim, with nearly every seat taken. We sat in the second row, and although it seemed a bit close, nothing could dampen our spirits. The black screen suddenly illuminated, and cheers rang out. Bella and Edward appeared, and we were swept into the realm of vampires and werewolves.

As the movie progressed, there were simultaneous whistles when a very scantily clad Jacob revealed himself, and plenty of tears when Edward left Bella in the forest. We all reacted in unison, never allowing the elation to fade.

When the film ended, the theater roared with an enthusiastic round of applause. I won’t give away any secrets, but let’s just say I think fans of vampires or werewolves will both be extremely happy with “New Moon.” As we all exited the theater, the thrill of the evening still hung over us. It was an unforgettable experience, and for the rest of the night I felt as if I were in Forks with the characters. I have a feeling that any time I think back on the experience, I’ll quickly be swept into the exhilarating world of Twilight.

Some may think it’s crazy to fall in love with fictional characters, but, after all, I was just a few feet away from a werewolf.

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