The crowds packing John Warren Field Saturday night roared their approval once the familiar skull and crossbones appeared on the 40-foot-tall inflatable movie screen, signaling the start of “The Goonies.”
A wave of cheers greeted the first glimpse of each key character, like basketball players being welcomed onto their home floor.
The 1985 cult classic, which turned 30 over the weekend, brought an overdose of 1980s nostalgia and Goonies fandom to Astoria.
Regina Willkie, marketing director for the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, estimated that around 12,000 people came for the 30th anniversary, compared with the 15,000 she estimated for the 25th.
“It’s no different than crab fest, Regatta or Hood to Coast, as far as people in town,” she said.
The celebration crescendoed Saturday night during the Farewell to Warren Field concert and film screening. The former Astoria High School football stadium, a setting for one of the scenes in the movie, is now owned by Columbia Memorial Hospital and will eventually be torn down.
The goodbye party featured a Truffle Shuffle hundreds strong, Americana band The Whiskey Rebellion and the Cyndi Lauper-dedicated duo Booby Traps, who at the end of their set asked if there were any girls in the audience who wanted to have fun. A gaggle of girls and women rushed the stage, where they all danced to the iconic Lauper pop hit.
Willkie said people were impressed with the new events compared to five years ago, including the trade convention in the Astoria Armory. The event brought in mostly 1980s and cinematic memorabilia, with art, movies, toys, accessories, 1980s-themed pastries and a Lego diorama depicting the Goon Docks and One-Eyed Willy’s treasure cave and pirate ship.
“Some of the vendors would love to have a trade show like this every year,” Willkie said.
She said the chamber’s main goal in the event is to break even, although she would not share how much the event cost to put on or how much the chamber made in return.
The celebration was scattered around the North Coast, from a beach bonfire and 5K race in Cannon Beach to the film screening at Warren Field and a block party and 1980s-themed dance party at the Astoria Event Center, complete with a display of DeLoreans on Ninth Street.
Another new event for the 30th anniversary was the 20-stage geocache — the One-Eyed Willy Treasure Hunt — organized by Seattle company Geocaching. Tom Phillips, a vice president of marketing for Geocaching, said 812 groups took part, with three-quarters making it to all the filming locations and businesses. The fastest group finished the geocache in about 90 minutes.
“The (public relations) value we had this year is great for the region year-round,” Willkie said, adding most of the hotels she called this weekend were full, along with Fort Stevens State Park’s campgrounds and most of KOA.
The weekend brought out the Goonies cult following from around the world.
Possibly the most peculiar visitor was Brian Kidd, better known in Portland as the Unipiper, a unicycling, kilt- and Darth Vader helmet-wearing bagpiper.
In Astoria, Kidd donned his Sloth mask and costume and rolled around downtown playing his fire-breathing bagpipes and snapping photos with visitors.
“It’s like my favorite movie growing up,” Kidd said of “The Goonies,” adding he moved from Virginia to Oregon years back in part because of the nostalgia from the movie. “That’s one of the first things I did after moving to Portland, is drove to Astoria,” he said.