DYERSVILLE, Iowa — In 1989, a 193-acre northeastern Iowa cornfield became the centerpiece of an international sensation that has drawn tens of thousands from around the world to the movie site of "Field of Dreams," which put Dyersville on the map – and evolved the famous quote: "Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa."
"I am looking forward to returning to Dyersville to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘Field of Dreams,’" said actor Kevin Costner in an April 21 news conference with reporters. "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."
Costner, 59, and other cast members reunited to mark the 25th anniversary, which was held on Father’s Day weekend, June 13-14, with NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas serving as master of ceremonies before an estimated crowd of 12,000 fans.
"’Field of Dreams’ is special to all of us, that were lucky enough to be in it, too," Costner said in a June 13 news conference at the movie site. It was filmed in rural Dyersville and Dubuque, in 1988.
"It transcends more than just baseball. It is about believing in the unbelievable," added Costner, who played Ray Kinsella in the film and arrived at the site with his wife and three children. "It’s about relationships. It’s about fathers and sons, and the things that go unsaid for too long."
Costner reunited with Dwier Brown, the actor who played Kinsella’s father, and Timothy Busfield, who played Kinsella’s brother-in-law. The weekend included a showing of the film on a large screen at the field. On June 14, fathers and sons were invited to "Have a Catch" on the legendary field, with sponsors playing in a daylong baseball tournament with celebrities and cast members acting as team managers. The day culminated with a celebrity baseball game.
Later that evening, Costner and his band, Modern West, performed at America’s River Festival in Dubuque.
"I am looking forward to seeing the cast of the movie," Bret Saberhagen, two-time Cy Young award winner and 1985 World Series MVP, told reporters April 21. "’Field of Dreams’ has always been one of my favorite movies and I can’t wait to be on the field (where) it was filmed."
He joined former MLB pitcher and 2013 World Series champion Ryan Dempster, former MLB pitcher Glendon Rusch, Busfield and Brown, actor Joel Murray and comedian and actor Jeff Dye.
In May 2010, owners Don and Becky Lansing put up the property – which has been in the Lansing family since 1906 – for sale for $5.4 million. In October 2011, they sold it to Mike and Denise Stillman of Chicago and their company, Go the Distance Baseball, LLC.
At that time, the sale price was not public. In January 2013, it was revealed Go the Distance Baseball paid $3.4 million. With construction starting in 2013, the redeveloped site was to be developed into Go the Distance Baseball’s parent company, All-Star Ballpark Heaven, a youth sports tournament complex with 12 fields and 60 clubhouses, with the first tournament games scheduled this year.
But as of May 2014, all construction has ceased. "All-Star Ballpark Heaven’s mission is to be America’s premier venue for fun family memories surrounding national baseball and softball tournaments," Denise Stillman said at the April 21 news conference.
"Coaches and their teams will enjoy premier facilities with pro-style team clubhouses and superb turf technology that guarantees high quality play for our 29-week season."
According to the Des Moines Register, a "Save the Field of Dreams on Facebook"’ billboard stands on the south edge of Dyersville where traffic turns east to drive to the movie site, with the goal of saving the site from redevelopment.
On Sept. 4, 2012, a coalition of neighboring farmers (known as the Residential and Agricultural Advisory Committee) sued the city of Dyersville, alleging its rezoning of the site from agricultural to commercial ground was illegal. The case awaits a judge’s ruling, the Register added.
About 65,000 people visit the "Field of Dreams" site annually.