In 1987, Sue Riedel, a volunteer for the Iowa Film Office stumbled upon a 193 acre farm just a few miles northeast of Dyersville, Iowa. Two years later, that quiet farm at 28995 Lansing Road hit the silver screen as the backdrop of “Field of Dreams”.
The rest is history.
So, it’s fitting that on the 25th anniversary of the release of the American classic, plans are in the works for a celebration like never before. Word leaked early that the company that now owns the plot of land, All-Star Baseball Heaven, was planning a Father’s Day weekend event.
Monday, those suspicions were confirmed during a press conference in Chicago.
On Friday, June 13, cast members from the iconic film (including, so far, Kevin Costner, Timothy Busfield and Dwier Brown) will be on hand at the filmsite, joining guests in a screening of the movie on the field itself. That night, Matt Lauer will also host a Q&A with the cast. Legendary sportscaster Bob Costas will serve as the weekend’s Master of Ceremonies.
The next day will consist of a day-long baseball tournament and a celebrity baseball game that will include two-time Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen and 2013 World Series champion, Ryan Dempster. The weekend wraps up Saturday night when Costner, his band Modern West, the Gin Blossoms and Joan Jett and the Backhearts perform at America’s River Festival in nearby Dubuque.
“I am looking forward to seeing the cast of the movie,” Saberhagen said. “‘Field of Dreams’ has always been one of my favorite movies and I can’t wait to be on the field it was filmed.”
“I am looking forward to returning to Dyersville to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘Field of Dreams’,” Costner added via video message during Monday’s press conference. “I’ve come to know how much this film means to people from all over America and particularly know how important it has become to Iowans. ‘Field of Dreams’ is special to all of us that were lucky enough to be in it, too. It transcends more than just baseball. It is about believing in the unbelievable. It’s about relationships. It’s about fathers and sons and the things that go unsaid for too long.”
Costner’s return marks the first time the actor has been to the film location in eight years. In 2006, Costner joined close to five thousand people for a free screening of the Academy Award nominated movie. Prior to that screening, he played a 75-minute set alongside Lisa Loeb and his band.
Of course, a starry-eyed look back at the movie wouldn’t be complete without, at the least, mentioning some of the recent controversy
You see, Go the Distance Baseball (the parent company behind All-Star Baseball Heaven) is looking at developing the land surrounding the iconic field with a massive, $74 million, 24-field baseball and softball complex for traveling youth-tournament teams. It’s this proposed complex that has some residents of Dyersville up in arms…even though the project would bring jobs and, presumably, truckloads of money to the sleepy town of less than five thousand people.
Obviously, it remains to be seen how all this is going to shake out (most reports indicate construction has been delayed until 2015), but one thing is certain, Father’s Day weekend will prove to be a pretty cool event…no matter which side of the debate you reside.