PARTY ON! Aurora, Ill., has plans for ‘Wayne’s World’ anniversary
After 25 years, Aurora, Ill., is getting ready to celebrate the movie that helped put the city in the national spotlight.
The film "Wayne's World" was released in theaters in February 1992. It was based on a popular series of skits starring Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar on "Saturday Night Live." In the skits, Wayne and Garth hosted a local cable show called "Wayne's World" out of the basement of Wayne's house in Aurora.
To honor the anniversary, a celebration is planned in the city. The Aurora Downtown group, along with the city of Aurora and the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, is assisting in organizing the six-month-long celebration of the movie.
The idea for the celebration was first raised by Jen Rauch, owner of If These Walls Could Talk, an art gallery and framing shop in downtown Aurora. Rauch said she first started "nudging" people about the anniversary last August, and that both the city and a number of local businesses and restaurants have started to come on board to celebrate Aurora's connection to the movie.
"I'm a big fan of the film, and I remembered that the anniversary was coming up," she said. "In the film, Wayne is supposed to be living in his mother's basement in Aurora and while we're still ironing out some details, we have had an interest in promoting the film and its anniversary here in town throughout the summer."
Rauch said "it's too cold in February to do a lot of things now" but said a Feb. 3 kick off for the celebration is planned. The "Party On! 25 Years of Wayne's World" celebration will start with a poster contest at If These Walls Could Talk. Those in attendance are invited to wear their best flannels.
"We want people to dress in flannels just as they did in the film," Rauch said.
The celebration will feature about a dozen events through July 4. Events will include a Wayne and Garth look-alike contest, an air guitar competition, movie screenings at Two Brothers Roundhouse and at Paramount Theatre's Classic Movie Monday series, a doughnut tasting, and more.
Cardboard cutouts of Wayne and Garth will visit various locations in downtown Aurora, organizers said. Selfies with the cutouts are encouraged and fans are asked to use the hashtag #partyonaurora when posting them to social media.
A grassroots group of about 10 people that includes a mix of business owners, volunteers, and community members started planning the celebration last summer.
Marissa Amoni, who handles events and community outreach for the Aurora Downtown group, said while "Wayne's World" sort of pokes fun at the city, people here are looking at it in a good-natured way as something that puts Aurora on the map.
"This cult classic has had long legs to it, and the fact it's a filmed fictional piece that references Aurora is something that has created some fun here, and we're looking forward to celebrating it," Amoni said. "We're going to have things like Luigi's Pizza renaming their arcade 'Noah's Arcade' after the Noah Vanderhoff's arcade seen in the movie, and Jen Rauch will be hosting a First Friday's event at her store in February."
The series of events will end with a contest July 4 at RiverEdge Park, where there will be an attempt to establish a world record for the largest number of people head banging to "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen before the July 4 fireworks.
Fans of "Wayne's World" will also get a chance to visit a replica AMC Pacer car like the one in the film at Hollywood Casino in downtown Aurora.