Ferris Fest—‘Anyone? Anyone?’

Ben Roffelsen
Toronto artist Sarah Keenlyside created a replica of Ferris Bueller’s bedroom from the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” that will be on display at Chicago’s Ferris Fest May 20–22.  

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Ferris Bueller and his friends Cameron and Sloan made film history in 1986 by spending a day playing hooky from school, traveling around Chicago and committing crazy stunts like taking over a parade.

Honoring the 30th anniversary of the John Hughes-directed film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Chicago will host its first Ferris Fest May 20–22.

The festival, created by event organizer David Blanchard, grew out of his plans to visit the movie’s filming locations with a few friends for the anniversary.

“I was surprised nobody was doing anything to commemorate this movie for the 30th anniversary,” Blanchard said. “I thought about it more and was like, ‘Well, why don’t we do something?’”

The festival will last all weekend and travel throughout Illinois, including  stops in Lake Forest, Northbrook and Chicago.

A “Shermer High School 1986 Spring Dance” at the Athletico Center in Northbrook is planned for May 20, allowing guests to mingle with several actors from the film and take pictures with a replica of the Ferrari the characters borrowed in the movie.

“We are encouraging people who come [to the dance] to do cosplay as their favorite ‘Ferris Bueller’ character or to just dress in 1980s-era clothing,” Blanchard said.

Other filming locations around Northshore and Downtown Chicago will be visited during tours on May 21–22. The tours will leave in six buses both mornings from the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest, which also holds the John & Nancy Hughes Theater where there will be two nights of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” screenings and Q&As with some actors from the film.

The festival will eventually lead into the recreation of the “Twist and Shout” parade scene from the film during the afternoon May 22.

“We’re going to be having some of the groups that performed in the [parade] scene in the movie [at the recreation],” Blanchard said. “The South Shore Drill Team is doing the entire number from the ‘Twist and Shout’ parade. Even though you only saw bits and pieces of it in the movie, there’s a whole routine they’re going to be performing.”

On display all weekend at Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N. Wabash Ave., will be a recreation of Bueller’s bedroom created by Toronto-based artist Sarah Keenlyside.

Keenlyside created the replica of the bedroom for the annual “Come Up to My Room” contest in Toronto, where artists take over floors of the Gladstone Hotel and decorate rooms. She said it took about five months to put it all together.

“I was asked to submit an idea [for CUTMR], and I’ve wanted to do this [bedroom] for years for that event,” Keenlyside said. “If there was any room I wanted to design, it would be Bueller’s room.”

Keenlyside said making the bedroom perfect became a “crazy obsession” for her. She said she looked closely at frames from the movie to get every item right, and she found most of the decor on sites like eBay or Craigslist and at thrift stores.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is still seen as relevant decades after its release because “teen rebellion will always be a popular subject,” said Ron Falzone, an associate professor in the Cinema Art + Science Department.

Falzone said Hughes’ films like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club” appeal to Chicagoans because he is a local director.

“It was the first time we had a filmmaker we could point to—he and Harold Ramis—in the ‘80s and say, ‘Those are our people,’” Falzone said. “It’s certainly a fundamental film for anybody raised in [Chicago].”

Tickets for Ferris Fest are available at FerrisFest.com and are selling fast. More information about the recreation of Ferris’ room is available at SaveFerrisRoom.com.