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My District: Is Home to the Field of Dreams Movie Site

The ballpark built for the 1989 film captures the essence of Americana.

By Gene Rose  |  April 22, 2024
Shannon Lundgren Iowa

They built it. And they came.

Those who have watched the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” know about the unique baseball field producers built next to an Iowa cornfield. Since the movie’s release, hundreds of thousands have flocked to see the famous field in Dyersville, about 190 miles northeast of the state capital, Des Moines. The site has hosted two official baseball games: The Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees 9-8 in 2021, and the Chicago Cubs won 4-2 over the Cincinnati Reds in 2022.

The field has gone through ownership changes and is now known as the Field of Dreams Movie Site.

State Legislatures News caught up with Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren (R) of House District 65 to get her perspective on the famous field.

What does the Field of Dreams Movie Site mean to your district?

It holds a special place in our hearts because it is not just a baseball field, but a symbol of dreams and aspirations. The site encourages people to believe in the power of their dreams and the importance of pursuing them.

The Field of Dreams has become a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world. This influx of tourists brings economic benefits to the community, supporting local businesses, hotels, restaurants and other services. It has also led to the development of various events and activities, such as baseball games, festivals and movie screenings, further contributing to the community’s vibrancy and cultural heritage.

Finally, the Field of Dreams has played a significant role in fostering a sense of community pride and unity. It has become a gathering place for locals, where they can come together to enjoy the game of baseball, participate in events and create lasting memories. The field has become a symbol of the community’s shared values, love for the sport and the importance of coming together as a community.

“The site encourages people to believe in the power of their dreams and the importance of pursuing them.”

—Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren

How have you been personally involved with the site?

My love affair with the Field of Dreams began in my early teens. Filming was underway in Dubuque County, and I, along with my mom and sister, had the chance to witness a live scene being shot in downtown Dubuque. Seeing Hollywood legends Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones in action was awe-inspiring and ignited a spark in me.

That same summer, destiny brought the Field of Dreams even closer. The film crew rented out my local movie theater for a private family night. As a concession worker, I found myself serving popcorn and drinks to the cast and crew, even meeting actor Timothy Busfield.

Years later, I found myself working in Dubuque County tourism. Back then, our claim to fame rested largely on films like the “Field of Dreams,” “F.I.S.T,” “Take This Job and Shove It,” along with local treasures like the 4th Street Elevator and Crystal Lake Cave. Our riverfront remained underdeveloped, but the Field of Dreams was a beacon for visitors.

Fast forward to 2020, and the buzz of a Major League Baseball game at the Field of Dreams filled the air. I became deeply involved in leveraging state funds alongside county and city dollars to elevate this iconic site to new heights. In 2022, we held the second MLB game at the Field of Dreams, and plans are now underway to create a permanent stadium with the hopes of making an MLB game an annual event. I can’t begin to describe the excitement of that first game, and we want to recreate that feeling year after year.

How important are sports and tourism to the district?

Sports tourism brings in a significant influx of visitors to the community. Hosting Little League tournaments, college ball games and events like Major League Baseball puts Dyersville and Dubuque County on the map and increases its recognition as a destination for sports enthusiasts. This positive exposure can attract more visitors, not only for sports-related activities but also for other tourism opportunities in the area like the National Mississippi River Museum, local riverboat sightseeing cruises and even multinight river cruises. It helps promote the community as a whole and can lead to further development of infrastructure and amenities to accommodate tourists.

Overall, sports tourism plays a vital role in the economic growth, community development and well-being of Dyersville and other cities in Dubuque County, and even has a regional reach that is great for Iowa.

What else is great about your district? What makes the area special?

Hands down, the people and our communities. The people of Dubuque County are collaborators, they are engaged in making our communities grow and prosper. We have a robust K-12 education system, and the county has numerous private colleges, universities and seminaries, and we are home to the unique New Mallory Abbey, a beautiful cathedral and a basilica. We also have the state’s oldest family-owned restaurant, Breitbach’s, and breathtaking views of the Mississippi River Valley. Also, Dubuque was the original capital of the state of Iowa. Overall, the combination of our people, cultural attractions, natural beauty and community spirit makes my district a special place to visit and live in.

Anything else you would like to add?

My family and I own Trackside Bar & Grill in our hometown, Peosta, about 12 miles from the Field of Dreams. Our small businesses are especially impacted by the tourism boom that the county has experienced over the past several decades. The MLB game brought national attention to our small towns, and we are serving more tourists than ever before. The Field of Dreams captures the essence of Americana and the romanticized vision of small-town America, where life is simpler and values like family and community hold great importance. These are our communities, and we are living the American dream.

The area is also represented by Sen. Carrie Koelker (R).

Gene Rose retired from NCSL in 2023.

“My District” gives NCSL members a chance to tell us about life in the places they represent, from the high-profile events to the virtues only locals know about.

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