In August 1992, the premiere of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was held in North Bend, WA. David Lynch felt the town was really the heart of Twin Peaks (plus it was filmed there). This studio-sponsored premiere event featured all of the main actors from the film plus thousands of fans who came from all around the world to view the film and celebrate their love of Twin Peaks. Two fans in particular, Don and Pat Shook of Romeo, MI, realized that this would be a great thing to have every year... a gathering of the fans with some celebrity guests, all together in Washington to celebrate Twin Peaks.
The following August, the very first fan-organized Twin Peaks Festival took place. It wasn’t nearly as large as the film premiere the year before—only about 200 fans were in attendance—but the size isn’t what mattered. The big draws for the fans were the celebrity guests and filming sites. Most of the festival events were held at the Holiday Inn in Issaquah that year, with a salmon luncheon at the Kiana Lodge off Bainbridge Island and a Lynch film night at the Seattle Art Museum as side trips. Fans were given filming site maps for self-guided tours, and were given the option to purchase tickets for each individual event during the festival (dinners, lunches, contests, etc).
The success of that first festival prompted the Shooks to continue the festival the following year, and soon it became an annual event. Average attendance each year ranged from 100-200 fans and three to four celebrity guests, including such folks as Jack Nance, Frank Silva, Michael J. Anderson, and Catherine Coulson. Eventually the Shooks decided to step down as festival organizers and hand the event over to a new person, Eric Thomas from Southern California. Eric took over the festival in 1998 and revamped the format. He moved the main festivities to the Kiana Lodge, added a bus tour of the filming sites in Snoqualmie Valley, and eliminated the individual event tickets, creating one comprehensive festival ticket package. The farewell cherry pie party was held at the Timberline Tavern in Seattle, famous to fans as the interior of the Roadhouse.
In 2000, Eric renamed it the Twin Peaks Lynch Fest and put heavy emphasis on David Lynch in general. After announcing that it would probably be the last festival ever, many new fans bought tickets in a panic to get their festival experience in before the opportunity was lost forever. The attendance number swelled to an overwhelming 250, with approximately 90% being brand-new to the festival experience (in comparison, normal years see about 67% new attendees). The main events were moved to Snoqualmie Valley and the farewell party switched to the Llama Rose Farm near Poulsbo.
Thankfully, Eric did continue the festival in 2001, largely with the help of Susan and David Eisenstadt, whose son Josh (fondly known to fans as The Twin Peaks Brain) had been dragging them to the festival since 1994. Afterwards, Eric turned the festival over to Susan, who picked up where Eric had left off and worked to encompass the entire festival in Snoqualmie Valley. The film night was moved to the North Bend Theater, where Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me had premiered ten years prior, and the farewell party relocated to Olallie State Park where several scenes from FWWM had been filmed, including the Deer Meadow Sheriff’s Station and the spot in the woods where Laura and Bobby meet Deputy Cliff. Julee Cruise happened to be in the Seattle area promoting her new disc that summer, and as a huge treat she was able to perform for fans. That year, ticket sales were capped at 200 to keep the festivities from becoming too unmanageable. Every single ticket sold out.
After two great years, Susan decided to hand the festival over to yet another organizer...or in this case, a group of organizers. 2004 saw the arrival of Jared Lyon, Amanda Hicks, and Jordan and Kelly Chambers as the festival organizers. They picked up where Susan left off, though the film night was moved back to the Seattle Art Museum due to lack of support from the owners of the North Bend Theatre (new owners have since taken over). In 2005, the film night, which had always been a Saturday-night staple, was switched to Friday night and the celebrity dinner switched to Saturday night in its place. The switch turned out to be a successful move and has remained in place since.
After the 2007 festival, Jordan and Kelly Chambers stepped down to focus on raising a family, leaving Jared and Amanda as the remaining organizers. For five more years, Jared and Amanda ran the festival, which saw lead actors Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn, and Piper Laurie all attending for the first-time. Also for the first time, one of the primary writers of the show, Robert Engels attended with his wife (and Twin Peaks actress) Jill Engels. After the 20th festival in 2012, which also marked the 20th Anniversary of the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me premiere in North Bend, Jared and Amanda decided to pass the torch on to a new set of organizers.
The 2013 festival saw the arrival of Rob and Deanne Lindley as new organizers. They continue the festival tradition, welcoming attendees to the weekend-long, little slice of heaven that is the Twin Peaks Festival.