Goonies never say die — except when they do.
The Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce will retire an event held every five years to celebrate the anniversary of the 1985 adventure comedy, “The Goonies.” The movie, shot in Astoria and other locations on the North Coast, draws hundreds of fans to the area year-round — sometimes to the consternation of locals, especially those who live near the famous Goonies House in Uppertown.
The chamber could not go into detail about why they are retiring the popular June event, but noted it had become increasingly difficult to entice former cast members to come to Astoria with growing competition from other, larger conventions and pop culture events.
Regina Willkie, the chamber’s marketing manager, described the decision as “taking a pause.” She hopes to find ways to continue to offer Goonies-related events for visitors and fans — perhaps hosted by other organizations and spread throughout the year instead of focused on or around June 7, Astoria’s official Goonies Day.
No plans have been finalized, however.
“Movie fans found their way to Astoria and delighted in their visits before we had these events and we know you’ll continue to do so without them,” the chamber wrote in an email announcing the news.
“Whether planning to come in June to celebrate the end of the school year or October to stomp about in ‘muddy trail season’ or any time in between, you’ll find yourself among friends who also enjoy seeing ‘in real life’ what has become so familiar on screen.”
The chamber was due to celebrate the movie’s 35th anniversary last year, but the coronavirus pandemic derailed plans for a large, in-person event. Celebrations unfolded online instead. Fans had hoped the chamber would plan a do-over in 2021.
“The Goonies,” directed by Richard Donner with Steven Spielberg as executive producer, is owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment. Past promotional materials for Astoria’s Goonies Day events noted a partnership with Warner Bros. The chamber worked with the company to license Astoria-centric Goonies merchandise for more than 10 years.
Without an agreement of their own in place with Warner Bros., other organizations interested in taking on their own Goonies celebrations will not be able to screen the movie or use things like the iconic Goonies font on marketing materials or merchandise, noted McAndrew Burns, the executive director of the Clatsop County Historical Society.
Still, June 7 remains Goonies Day in Astoria, by proclamation of former Mayor Willis Van Dusen.
“There will always be a Goonies Day on June 7,” Burns said. “The question is the size and scope.”
The chamber’s Goonies Day event was a major draw for fans of the movie. The Oregon Film Museum in Astoria, which seeks to highlight films made in Oregon, came into existence in large part because of the enduring interest in Goonies-related history and memorabilia and would see a noticeable spike in visitors during the Goonies Day celebrations, Burns said.
He suspects the big five-year anniversaries are a thing of the past, but he, too, hopes to see something fill the gap.
Without an agreement with Warner Bros., “can (an organization) use the font? Probably not,” he said. “But can we do something to welcome 1,000 or 2,000 fans and give them fun opportunities to enjoy our town and make it a little more special for them? Absolutely.”