Sixteen Candles

The team behind last year’s Ferris Fest, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, will return June 22-25 with an even bigger follow-up event. The Shermer Club: A John Hughes Fest will honor writer-director’s John Hughes’s 1980s teen movies with exclusive film screenings, a luxury bus tour to filming locations in and around Chicago, and expansive re-creations of classic scenes from those films—culminating in a full reenactment of the wedding scene from Sixteen Candles.

Centered at the John and Nancy Hughes Theater in Lake Forest, the festival will revolve around six film screenings (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Weird Science) and cast member Q&A’s for each one. Special guests will include Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink), Lea Thompson (Some Kind of Wonderful), director Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful), Ilan Mitchell-Smith (Weird Science), Craig Sheffer (Some Kind of Wonderful), Cindy Pickett (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), and John Kapelos (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles), with more cast members to be added soon.

“The new event was born out of a curiosity I had about six years ago,” says Filmed Here event coordinator David Blanchard, who also created and organized Ferris Fest. “With so many events around the globe celebrating movies, music, TV, and pop culture-related happenings, why has there never been any kind of major festival honoring John Hughes? So I decided I would mount one.”

Blanchard says it was clear from the beginning that several cast members were enticed not only by the fact that the festival was specifically created to celebrate Hughes, but also because the event had the blessing and encouragement of Hughes’s wife, Nancy, who also will attend the screenings. “We began planning for [the event] immediately following Ferris Fest,” Blanchard says, “with the realization that it certainly would be a more expansive Chicago celebration, and we wanted to have plenty of time to make it incredibly fun and memorable.”

Ferris Fest
Ferris FestCredit: David Blanchard

According to Blanchard, the full wedding scene from Sixteen Candles will be staged at the Glencoe Union Church—”the actual location where it was filmed, and exactly as it was blocked and performed in the movie,” he says. He got the idea to bring in actors to re-create the scenes on-location from other events he had attended in the past; but while those events usually involved “a look-alike actor in costume that would pop up [to] say ‘Hi’ to fans and pose for photos,” he explains, “I wanted to incorporate actors who would stay completely in character at several locations where a movie was filmed and perform an entire scene from that movie.”

“This would give attendees the sense that they were actually walking into that particular scene in a very immersive fashion,” Blanchard continues. “Because who wouldn’t want to find themselves in one of their favorite films?”

Ferris Fest
Ferris FestCredit: David Blanchard

To further enhance the experience, models of the iconic cars from some of these films—including Jake Ryan’s red 944 Porsche from Sixteen Candles, Andie’s pink 1959 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Coupe from Pretty in Pink, and Cameron’s dad’s 1961 250 GT California Spyder from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—will be on display at various locations throughout the event. Blanchard says that the automobiles come from private collectors, some of whom are fans of the movies themselves.

Also in conjunction with the event, the Northbrook Historical Society will present an extensive exhibit of memorabilia, promotional materials, and screen-used items from Hughes’s films. Though the North Shore suburb where Hughes grew up and went to high school has honored him before—most notably with a special bench and commemorative plaque installed last year—Blanchard says this is the first year that the Northbrook Historical Society will present such a unique display. “We’re actually really excited to have that as part of the Shermer Club,” he notes, “and [we] look forward to seeing all the special items included.”

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