This Weekend, Twilight Superfans Make Downtown Dallas Their Playground

Twicon 2009 is in full effect downtown at the Sheraton Hotel, where organizers say 3,000 fans have registered for the weekend's celebration of all things Twilight -- or even, "Twilight-inspired." Here's looking at you, "Essence of Twilight" perfume table, where the fragrances are "Hand-made to match the description of your favorite Twilight characters."

Till Sunday, Dallas is ground zero for the event organizers say is the largest Twilight gathering ever in North America. The crowd had a teenybopper look with a hint of brooding, peppered by a handful in baseball unis, an all-out cape-collar-and-fangs vampire and -- really? -- one Klingon who strolled defiantly past the girls in an autograph line.

That the Klingon stuck out so much is just one sign that this isn't your average sci-fi con going down this weekend. Further evidence is the fact that MTV and Reelz Channel each held contests to find the most rabid Twilight devotees to be their correspondents. (Lest you doubt her enthusiasm, MTV winner Farah Madi raps all about it in her winning entry video -- and judging by her "jonasbrosfan" moniker, she'll love it here in Dallas.)

The con's big day is Saturday, when cast members will appear for Q&A and autograph sessions, and a masquerade ball will cap off the night. Twilight star Jackson Rathbone's band 100 Monkeys has a show tomorrow night at the Palladium Ballroom too.

Even after folks spent hours waiting in line to register last night, hundreds spent four hours waiting in line this morning for a chance to meet the members of 100 Monkeys -- even after Rathbone himself was a late scratch from the appearance.

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Rathbone's disappearing act didn't thin out the crowd much, but it left plenty of fans disappointed -- including Kelly Steadman, who flew in from San Jose and said she's been frustrated by a few abrupt schedule changes like Rathbone's, especially when she says she could hear him talking in an adjacent room.

"We're both event coordinators, and this is the biggest mess I've ever seen," said Leanne Refvik, who traveled with Steadman and had Unfair Park wondering if we weren't about to witness Southfork II.

"Out of 3,000 people, we're going to expect some complaints," said Twicon cofounder Becky Scoggins, who said things really have been running smoothly so far. "You're gonna have long waits, you're gonna have people getting tired and impatient," she said.

Cassidy Thackerson, 15, said she's enjoyed herself so far at the con, after coming into Dallas from Wickett, in West Texas. While she looks forward to meeting Kellan Lutz at the autograph sessions tomorrow, her mother Maradith has entertained herself by lugging around a cardboard Robert Pattinson standup, collecting signatures from all who pose with it in a photo.

Meghan Walstrom said she drove 16 hours with three friends from Minneapolis, and found a more diverse crowd at Twicon than she'd expected. "I thought I would feel a lot older and out of place than I have," said Walstrom, who is in her 30s.

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