Free outdoor movie nights have become a Vancouver summertime staple in recent years. Dirty Dancing in Yaletown, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in Stanley Park, but none is more fitting than Field of Dreams at Nat Bailey Stadium.
What: Movie Night at the Nat outdoor movie night presented by the Vancouver Canadians
Where: Nat Bailey Stadium (sit up the in stands at the ballpark)
When: Friday, August 10, 2012 at 7:00pm
Tickets: Free admission, free parking
To say I have a soft spot for this movie, as many others do, is an understatement. It was based on the 1982 book Shoeless Joe, written by BC author W.P. Kinsella. Kinsella was born in Edmonton and attended the University of Victoria before heading to the Univeristy of Iowa’s world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was then based in White Rock, Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and now lives up the Fraser Canyon.
“The fading sun was a rich orange; the shadows of the tall light standards reached across the field like long black arms. Yards away, the mysterious green and gold corn rustled like delicate guests in conversation.”
His works go far beyond the field, with dozens of books published along with hundreds of short stories.
Kinsella was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994 as well as the Order of British Columbia. Shoeless Joe had the farthest reach, thanks to its adaptation for the 1989 Kevin Kostner movie.
The actual setting of the film is a real farm, with a real baseball field over in Dyersville, Iowa (in the region where my husband John was born and raised). The Field of Dreams Movie Site is open to the public from April to November, and is free to visit. You are welcome to stop by, bring a bat and a ball, have a picnic on the lawn, and spend some time just hanging out.
The site had been up for sale for the last few years with an asking price of $5.4 million for the 193-acre farm. According to USA Today, it sold last October: “The new owners said they plan to develop the site as a baseball and softball complex, with multiple fields and an indoor training facility. The original baseball diamond and two-bedroom house shown in the movie will remain.”
John took me there first in the winter and then again in the summer to play a round of catch. I stood in the outfield, chased a rogue ball into the corn, and felt the grass between my toes.
I have also been fortunate enough to meet Kinsella at a book signing in Chilliwack last year where he autographed my well-read copy of Shoeless Joe. John bought another copy on the spot and got his signed too.
The movie doesn’t tug at my heartstrings because of the bond between father and son — which I’m told can make even the toughest grown men cry. It’s fantastically written with a hint of magic and it transported me to Iowa on a warm summer night even before I could get there in the flesh. Which is where, as it turns out, I found the love of my life.
“Is this Heaven?… No, it’s Iowa.” Gets me every time.