A growing queue of Goonies fanatics gathered outside the Astoria Armory Thursday, waiting for the designated Goondocks to open so they could get their tickets to events.
Regina Willkie, the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce’s marketing director, said 2010’s 25th anniversary of “The Goonies” brought in around 15,000 people, and every indication is that as many or more will show up in Astoria this weekend.
Among the crowd were a group of seven travelers from four different continents who met on Facebook, arrived within an hour of each other at Portland International Airport and traveled out to Astoria together to relive some of their favorite childhood memories.
“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to find a treasure map,” Udi Benloulou from South Africa said, referencing the One-Eyed Willy geocaching treasure hunt. “I’m really amped up.”
Benloulou first saw the movie as an 8-year-old in the late 1980s and said he has had a ritual since 2005 of watching it every year on his birthday with buttered popcorn and Whispers peanut butter bonbons. He’s from the small town of Mahikeng in South Africa northwest of Johannesburg and said his childhood of riding bikes around with friends reminds him of the movie.
Monique MacLennan from Perth, Australia, has spent more than $10,000 touring New York City; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Miami; Nashville; Texas; Los Angeles and Portland. MacLennan said she’s a movie and TV buff, visiting filming locations of “Seinfeld” in New York City and “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Grease” in Los Angeles.
MacLennan said Astoria is her last stop, where she hopes to visit many of “The Goonies” filming locations. “My favorite scene is when they leave the house and ride their bikes,” she said.
MacLennan said she found out about the 30th anniversary of “The Goonies” on its Facebook page, where she connected with Benloulou; Manuel Cuesta and Irene Bayon from Madrid, Spain; Lisa and Carlos Herrera from Miami; and Vanessa Pagan from Houston.
“It just so happened that every one of us was coming (to the airport) within an hour of each other,” Pagan said. “It was the luck of the draw.”
It was also the luck of the draw when Pagan said she entered $10 in the “Zip with a Goonie!” raffle and won the chance to zip line this morning at Highlife Adventures in Warrenton with Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk in the movie.
Other fans waiting outside the Armory Thursday showed off their character costumes, including Milo Sidlo, who was dressed up as the character Data carrying a jar with the message: “Save the Goon Docks.” Kevin Kelley, who runs a theater in Orlando, Fla., showed off “The Goonies” movie cover, which was tattooed on his forearm and printed on his custom Converse sneakers.
By noon Thursday, the crowd of Goonies faithful outside the Armory were allowed into the Goondocks, the headquarters for the weekend’s revelry set up by the Chamber of Commerce.
The Goondocks includes a merchandise booth and a full-scale ‘80s-themed trade convention, with vendors traveling from all around the country to peddle their wares.
VirtuaLUG, an online LEGO user group, installed a diorama depicting a miniaturized Goonies world, complete with the Goondocks neighborhood, the old Clatsop County Jail, the abandoned restaurant frequented by the Fratellis, One-Eyed Willy’s Cave and the beach where the Fratellis flee from the police.
An art gallery in Los Angeles shipped in giclee prints depicting Goonies characters and scenes. Storyboards from the movie line the walls of the Armory’s mezzanine. And the Friends of the Astoria Armory are selling food in the basement.
A party everywhere
“It’s like the crab fest, but people are spread around town instead of in one place,” Willkie said, referencing April’s Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival that often represents the busiest weekend in Astoria — when the Goonies are not in town.
Tonight features ‘80s Night Out, with a block party in front of the Astoria Event Center, ‘80s fashion awards and a display of DeLoreans outside. Other spots around town will also hold ‘80s-themed parties, with music at Fort George Brewery and Public House, Goonies trivia at Baked Alaska, black light bowling at Lower Columbia Bowl and a pirate-themed party and dress-up contest at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
On Saturday, fans will bid adieu to John Warren Field with music, photo slide shows of “The Goonies” and a screening of the film at sundown.