Springfield, Vt., Wins the 'Simpsons Movie' Premiere

By John Curran
Associated Press
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Vt., July 10 -- Maybe it was the pink doughnut. Maybe it was the clever homemade video, or small-town charm.

Maybe Homer just figured it was time to go green.

Whatever the reason, this much is true: Springfield, Vt., beat out 13 other Springfields on Tuesday for the right to host the premiere of "The Simpsons Movie," winning an online poll it wasn't even invited to participate in.

On July 21, the town's 100-seat movie theater will play host to the movie, which opens July 27.

"Vermont wins," read the purple lettering beside the doughnut-chomping patriarch of America's favorite dysfunctional family on "The Simpsons Movie Springfield Challenge" Web site.

"Ninety-three hundred people, and we won," said an exultant Town Manager Bob Forguites. "I think it's pretty neat, myself."

Springfields in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee also made bids, submitting videos meant to playfully connect their cities to the fictional Springfield in "The Simpsons."

Competition was fierce: Massachusetts got Sen. Edward Kennedy -- the inspiration behind the voice of Mayor Quimby on "The Simpsons" -- to appear in its entry.

"Just think," Kennedy said. "You'll even be able to enjoy some real chowdah."

Vermont's Springfield -- which has a bowling alley, a pub, a prison and a nuclear power plant just down the road -- wasn't initially part of the contest, but a local Chamber of Commerce executive appealed to movie producer Twentieth Century Fox and the race was on.

The town submitted a video shot by a 17-year-old volunteer cameraman showing buildings with "Springfield" in them and featuring Homer -- played by a Burlington talk show host -- running through town chasing a big, pink rolling doughnut.

Eventually a mob chases him into a movie theater.

The video was posted on the contest Web site along with the other entries. By midnight Monday, the deadline, 109,582 votes were cast.

Vermont got 15,367, edging out Springfield, Ill., which drew 14,634.

Springfield, Ore., hoped it had an in because "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening is from Portland, the state's largest city, and many of the show's landmarks are named after streets in Portland. It noted in its video that "the only Springfield Groening passed through on his way to Hollywood was in Oregon."

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