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Stand By Me Day returns to Brownsville on Friday
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Stand By Me Day returns to Brownsville on Friday

Stand By Me08

River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton pause in between filming of Stand by Me in Brownsville in this 1985 image. Stand By Me Day, which celebrates the classic movie, returns to Brownsville on Friday.

Stand By Me Day returns to Brownsville from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday with a self-guided walking tour, a scavenger hunt and more.

This year, the event celebrates the 35th anniversary of the classic film, which was shot in Brownsville and other locations in the summer of 1985 before being released in 1986.

Linda McCormick, one of the event organizers, said that the camaraderie of fans makes Stand By Me Day special, and the event usually brings in attendees from across the United States and even from foreign countries.

“It’s the fans that make it. You see their faces. Some of them come back every year. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what we’re here for,” McCormick added.

In a normal year, about 500 people come to see where the movie was filmed.

Last year, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Stand By Me Day was held as a virtual tour, with a live feed and trivia questions on Facebook. The event returns in a rather limited fashion this year.

“This was tough. This whole time we were locked down, and then (Oregon) opened up June 30, that was too late to look for sponsors and plan a big event,” McCormick said.

She wasn’t sure what to expect as far as attendance this year. She doesn’t think there will be any international travelers on Friday, but has heard about out-of-state visitors.

The walking tour this year will include a geocaching phone application that leads visitors to local filming locations. Another phone app shares details about the movie and what you can do in Brownsville.

Those looking to take part in the fun should stop by the Linn County Historical Museum, 101 Park Ave., to pick up a paper map or souvenirs.

The Linn County Historical Museum is the sponsor for the event, and it also has a new “Stand By Me” exhibit, complete with a photo opportunity.

A choir also will stand on street corners and at scene locations and sing songs from the movie — including “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, which is featured in the film.

“Stand By Me” is an adaptation of a Stephen King novella, “The Body.” It tells the tale of four adolescent friends who in 1959 embark on a quest to find the body of a missing boy.

The movie’s coming-of-age story turns Brownsville into Castle Rock, Oregon, and the four friends are portrayed by Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell.

Brownsville celebrates Stand By Me Day every July 23.

A hundred-some area residents were extras during the filming, and some still bring out their classic cars for the annual celebration. If you really want to get into the spirit, wander down Brownsville's main drag and find Vern’s penny.

For more information about Stand By Me Day, go to the Linn County Historical Museum on Facebook.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter via @KyleOdegard.

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