‘A monumental event’: Preparations continue 2 weeks ahead of Field of Dreams MLB game

DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Plans are in the home stretch two weeks ahead of the Major League Baseball game at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville.

The game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees will take place Aug. 12 in an 8,000-seat stadium adjacent to the original “Field of Dreams” movie site. The game initially was slated to happen last year but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To capitalize on the crowds expected for the game, local officials are planning Beyond the Game events that will take place in Dyersville on Aug. 11 and 12 — and the clock is ticking.

“We’re in full-fledged event mode,” said Keith Rahe, CEO and president of Travel Dubuque.

The first day of Beyond the Game will include a free country concert headlined by country duo Maddie & Tae. Country singers Shy Carter and Ingrid Andress also will take the stage.

Rahe said the main stage at Commercial Club Park will start going up on Aug. 10. He said he believes 5,000 to 7,000 people can fit inside the fence surrounding the park, but people also will be able to listen beyond that.

“We have heard repeatedly that people can’t believe it’s all free, the concerts and everything,” Rahe said. “We expect a good crowd.”

Rahe said 10 to 12 food vendors will set up shop around Westview Park and the City Square, as well as five to seven vendors at Commercial Club Park, though visitors also are encouraged to eat at local restaurants,

He added that around 100 people have volunteered to answer visitor questions, monitor children’s activities and man the beer tent.

“We’ve got a couple in from New Jersey just to be part of the fun,” he said. “They volunteered to help. They’re not going to get tickets for the game — they know that — but that’s a good example of the excitement this is bringing.”

Jacque Rahe, executive director of Dyersville Economic Development Corp., said the setup for other Beyond the Game events will also start Aug. 10, including the screen for the official game viewing party on Aug. 12. A viewing of the 1989 “Field of Dreams” movie will be held Aug. 11.

“We’ve had just a ton of calls constantly in the office here just wanting information on times of all the different events,” she said. “So, we’re looking forward to having some really great crowds.”

A full schedule of Beyond the Game events can be found at beyondthegameiowa.com. Parking will be available at Westside and Commercial Club parks, as well as at Lumber Specialties, Tauke Motors, Beckman Catholic High School, Candy Cane Park and a grass lot north of the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier.

While all events are scheduled to occur rain or shine, Rahe noted that Aug. 13 is the rain date for the game should the weather take a turn for the worse.

A storm shelter is part of the infrastructure of the stadium, along with bleachers, locker rooms and dugouts. The temporary stadium was taken down last year after the 2020 game cancellation, though the field itself remained.

Roman Weinberg, director of Go the Distance Baseball, did not return requests for comment for this story but previously told the Telegraph Herald that most of the stadium would be rebuilt throughout July. He also has said game parking will be at the Field of Dreams site and rented neighboring farmland.

Karla Thompson, Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said about 75 people have agreed to let their homes be used as accommodations around game day if needed, as most hotel rooms are booked.

“The question used to be, ‘When are tickets going on sale?’” Thompson said. “Now, the question is, ‘How many people are coming?’ And the answer is, ‘I don’t know.’”

A lottery for a chance to buy game tickets — which was open to Iowa residents only — ended on Friday. MLB officials announced that the lottery winners will be notified Monday, Aug. 2, that they each have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets to the game and one parking pass.

However, questions still remain about tickets, including their price. The MLB’s announcement of the lottery was unclear on how many tickets would be available to Iowans and how many total fans will be at the game. It was also unclear if those who don’t live in Iowa will have a way to potentially purchase tickets.

A representative for MLB did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Shelly Kalb, general manager of Comfort Inn in Dyersville, said 45 of her 50 rooms are booked for MLB-related stays during the game. She said she believes some people might cancel their trips to Dyersville should they not win the ticket lottery, but the majority still will come.

“I think actually having the game here and everything going on prior to the game, people will come,” she said. “It’s a monumental event.”