'Twilight' Convention Comes To New Jersey

Fans of Stephenie Meyer's saga turned up dressed as their favorite characters to mingle with some of the actors and shop for franchise merchandise.

The weather couldn't have been more Forks-like in Parsippany, New Jersey on Friday for the kickoff of Summit and Creation Entertainment's Official [movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] Convention. About 2,000 Twilighters are expected to descend on the Hilton Parsippany Hotel for the three-day event (with one attendant coming as far as Brazil).

The hosts for the weekend are "Hillywood Show" castmembers Hannah Hindi, Hillary Hindi, Jacob Jost and Drew Lorentz, whose viral video spoof of "Twilight" has garnered more than 2 million views on YouTube. In addition to the dressed-in-character hosts, fans can rub elbows with a slew of "Twilight" talent including Gil Birmingham (Billy Black), Edi Gathegi (vampire Laurent), Justin Chon (Eric Yorkie), Wolf Packers Alex Meraz (Paul), Kiowa Gordon (Embry Call) and Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley), and "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke. Cullen coven members Ashley Greene (Alice) and Kellan Lutz (Emmett), who were originally slated to attend, pulled out earlier this week due to "Eclipse" filming obligations.

"Twilight" Invades New Jersey

In between star panels and photo and autograph opportunities, fans have a veritable "Twilight" mall to peruse, with table upon table brimming with vampire- and werewolf-themed merch. Handmade bath products, jewelry, 8x10 star glossies and enough "Twilight" tees to fill a dozen closets are among the many, many items up for grabs. Other entertainment opportunities throughout the weekend include rounds of "Twilight" trivia, panels with "Twilight Lexicon" and "Twilight Mom" bloggers, a meet-and-greet with "Twilight" cover hand model Kimbra Hickey, a charity auction and a Saturday night vampire ball, where guests are encouraged to dress like their favorite character.

Many of the attendees queuing up on this drizzling first morning were, unsurprisingly, female and shared similar reasons for attending (besides their love for the Stephenie Meyer-penned saga).

"We're looking forward to seeing Catherine Hardwicke," said Natasha Bieberfeld, 26, from Philadelphia, who came dressed in character as Alice along with friend Jillian Brooks, 24, who came decked in a long red wig and fur coat as vampire Victoria. Megan McCormick and Becca Voltmer, both 12 years old and also from Philadelphia, echoed the pair's sentiments. "I'm getting my picture taken with [Catherine]!" Megan exclaimed.

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