The cast and crew of “The Sandlot” returned Saturday to Glendale — where the movie was originally filmed 20 years ago — to celebrate the anniversary of the beloved American classic.
The celebration kicked off in the early afternoon with a carnival featuring live music from Salt Lake country band Calico Sage and surf-rock band The New Electric Sound. Vendors and fans lined the streets. Some vendors sold food from the movie, such as s’mores in honor of the tree house sleepover scene, where Porter shows Smalls how to make a s’more.
Spencer Stone, a BYU student who has been involved in organizing the event since last August, said the event was so special because fans got to interact with the movie’s cast and crew.
“It was really impressive to see how much people associated themselves with the movie,” Stone said.
Stone said prior to the event, organizers and fans were talking with director David Mickey Evans about how much the film has impacted people over the years. He said a dentist based in Salt Lake gave an autographed 1853 New York Yankees baseball to Evans, telling him how much the film had changed his life.
“David Mickey Evans talked about how grateful he was to be associated with a movie that had such a big impact on people’s live,” Stone said. “It was really astounding to see what people were willing to do to come to the event and to give back to the cast and crew.”
Among the attending cast were Chauncey Leopardi (Squints), Patrick Renna (Porter), Shane Obendzinski (Tommy Timmons) and Victor DiMattia (Timmy Timmons).
The cast and crew entered the field to cheers and yells of, “You’re killing me, Smalls!”
The Utah Film Commission then presented a plaque to the director and crew in honor of “The Sandlot” location becoming a historical filming landmark. As he presented the plaque, the representative said this has never been done before, but the Film Commission realized how special the location is to fans and locals and wanted to commemorate the former baseball field.
“If people said, ‘And the Oscar goes to … ,’ I’d say, ‘Thanks, but I have my own historical landmark,'” Evans said as he held the plaque.
Following the plaque dedication, the attending cast and crew signed autographs for devoted fans who lined up around the entire field. The sheer number of fans awaiting autographs required security to close off the field to any additional fans.
Though the movie is 20 years old, fans both young and old gathered to celebrate the story of Scotty Smalls, Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez and “The Beast.”
Robby Jackson from Murray waited in line behind hundreds of fans to get his autographs and meet the cast and crew.
“When you’re a kid, there are movies that make your childhood, and this is one of them,” Jackson said. “The fact that it was filmed here and that we all grew up here is cool, too. This is one of the only movies that I would come to something like this for.”
Will Morris from Sandy brought his children to get autographs because he wants the tradition of “The Sandlot” to live on with them.
“I watched the movie so many times when it came out that I know every line,” Morris said. “I’ve showed it to my children and they love it just as much. We all couldn’t wait to come here tonight when we first heard about the anniversary.”
Those who could manage to get tickets before they disappeared were then allowed to sit on the field for a Q&A session with the cast and crew, followed by an outdoor screening of “The Sandlot,” which was the grand finale to the event.