- Associated Press - Friday, November 9, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Stacey Buckley of Bournemouth, England, decided last year that she had to be in Los Angeles for the premiere of the final “Twilight” film.

She saved her money, rounded up some other local Twi-Hards she met online and booked a ticket for the U.S., where she’ll spend four nights camping out in front of the Nokia Theatre with some 1,500 other “Twilight” fans.

“My brother says I need to see a shrink,” said the 29-year-old, who wore tiny Union Jack flags in her hair like antennae. “This is the last one, so I said, `Let’s do it in style.’”

Fans of the vampire-romance series registered online for a chance to spend the weekend at a temporary tent city that filled the street in front of Staples Center and sprawled across L.A. Live plaza Friday. They wore “Twilight” buttons and T-shirts, and decorated their tents with homemade posters and photo collages of stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Campers will be treated to three days of “Twilight” screenings and activities and will get to see the film’s stars arrive for the premiere of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn _ Part 2” on Monday.

Buckley, who came with three British pals, had a sign on her tent that read: “5,430 miles flown; 90 hours camped; all because we’re Twi-Hard Brits.”

Bri-Anne Glover and Stephanie Dodson, who work together at a coin-collecting shop in Florida, also spent a year planning their “Twilight” camp out. Both of them moms, they left their kids with their husbands, closed their store for a week and headed to Southern California.

“Everyone thinks we’re crazy,” Dodson said.

“We’re never going to have this opportunity again,” Glover said. “This is truly the most exciting experience that I’ve had.”

Wendi Reynolds of Philadelphia was thrilled when she won the chance to participate in the “Twilight” fan camp. The 48-year-old bought a tent, got tips from other fans who’d camped out before and made the trip solo.

“I’m doing something that I really, really love,” she said as she put together a scrapbook of pictures and memorabilia from past “Twilight” conventions. “This is the last premiere and I’ve always wanted to come, so I am soaking it up.”

Reynolds said she made fast friends with her tent neighbors and notes that “Twilight” fans aren’t “just a bunch of screaming teenagers.” She was drawn first to the books and then the films because of the love story they tell.

“It’s two people in love and it’s just so awesome,” she said. “She just loves him for who he is. Even though he thinks he has a handicap or a flaw, but that’s what she loves about him.”

Life-sized cardboard cutouts of Pattinson and Stewart dotted the tent-filled landscape as various fan groups handed out freebies. Sharon Lottes of Arizona, who runs two “Twilight”-themed websites when she’s not working as a hospital secretary, passed out stickers and pens to fellow fans _ just as she has at fan camps for previous “Twilight” premieres.

“You bring stuff. You meet people,” said the 29-year-old. “It’s the world’s biggest sleep-over, and at our age, who gets to do that?”

Fans of the series bond easily, she said, and the fan camp is a great place to “let your freak flag fly.”

“This is the one place where no matter how intense your fandom is, you bring it,” she said.

A bourgeoning economy also developed inside the tent city, with some fans selling posters, buttons and even a “sparkle spray” to lend a Cullen-esque shimmer to the skin.

Rain on Thursday and a chilly wind on Friday didn’t dampen campers’ spirits. They participated in a group exercise class Friday morning, then sucked down free Jamba Juice smoothies. Screenings of the second and third films in the series, “New Moon” and “Eclipse,” were planned for Friday night. Saturday’s activities include live performances of song from the new film’s soundtrack, and a screening of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn _ Part 1.”

Stars from the franchise are set to visit the fan camp on Sunday.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn _ Part 2” opens in the U.S. on Nov. 16.


AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy.




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