I went through Dubuque to the Field of Dreams in Dyersville yesterday. You have to have some clue where it is and watch closely for the signs since the owners do not want to commercialize it with big gaudy signs. First thing I did was buy a baseball to play with (they don’t supply equipment or organize anything for insurance reasons). I sat on the bleachers and watched fathers having a catch with sons and daughters or pitching to their little sluggers. Lots of giddy people, including myself, went out into the corn in the outfield to meditate which isn’t easy when a group of kids start talking about the movie, “Children of the Corn”. LOL.
I spotted a woman from North Carolina twirling on the grass and she jumped at my offer to play catch. Everyone was extemely friendly and offered to take each other’s pictures for them. People from all over the world have come there to play and share in the dream. Major League ballplayers like Reggie Jackson, Kirby Puckett, George Brett, etc. show up there now and then to play. The only organized activity is on the last Friday of the month when the Ghost Players come out of the corn to play once more and hold baseball clinics. Many of the players appeared as the ghosts in the movie.
I met the owner of the white farmhouse, Don, who was born there and has never left. He and his sister live there. The farm has been in their family for over 99 years. Now that is stability.
The field is actually owned by two farmer families. After the movie finished shooting, the other family plowed under their portion to plant corn again until the public raised a big outcry and they put it back. They have also licensed a Milwaukie firm to sell souvenirs on their side of the field while Don’s family and friends sell souvenirs on their side of the field to pay for field maintenance.
The house is a private residence so it is not open for tours. The field is open until 6pm but they have been known to come out for visitors and let them play later now and then. You won’t be disappointed going to this Wallyworld! (But try to be on time anyway and be a good tourist.)
Movie tidbits: There really was a Doc Graham and the story about his baseball career and being a beloved doctor after is true. The writer of Field of Dreams did go to Chisholm, Minnesota with a friend to talk to him and did learn he was dead for some time at the newspaper office.
When Ray (Kevin Costner) asked Shoeless Joe (Ray Liotta) if he could hit his curve ball, Ray Liotta was supposed to hit a long fly ball but accidently hit the hard linedrive at Kevin. Kevin still managed to deliver his next line and the crew found it so funny that they left it in the movie as is.
The porch swing is gone since it was actually rented for the movie from a family in Dubuque.