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The Willis Tower is hosting a summer-long 'Ferris Bueller' party

Written by
Clayton Guse

Three decades ago, John Hughes' Ferris Bueller's Day Off debuted in theaters. The film—about a privileged, weaselly North Shore teenager who had a penchant for playing hooky—has had a profound effect on almost every generation of angsty high schoolers since its release. This summer, the Willis Tower's Skydeck is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Ferris, Sloane and Cameron running around Chicago while exhibiting behavior that would usually cause one to be punched in the face.

The highest observation deck in the country is teaming up with Paramount Pictures to create a slew of activities honoring what is arguably Hughes' most memorable movie. Beginning May 19, guests visiting the Skydeck will be able to stand in the exact spot that Ferris and his pals leaned their noggins against window 1,353 feet in the air, looked down on the city and really put things into perspective, you know? Every other Friday from May 20 through August 26, Hubby's Dog House sausage cart will be re-branded as the "Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago" food card and will be parked outside of the building on Wacker Driver from noon to 2pm. They're even whipping out a Ferrari California T (you know, the same type of car featured in the movie, which Cameron eventually destroyed), which will be parked in the Willis Tower's Plaza from July 21-23 between 10am and 2pm.

On top of all that, Willis Tower is also hosting a "Ferris Lookalike Contest" on the Skydeck on June 24. Contestants can dress up as any of the cast members for a chance to win a "special Ferris Bueller prize package." There will also be official "Save Ferris" gifts in the building's gift shop to remind visitors that this whole thing is just a good old Chicago tourist trap.

Regardless of how campy or cute the campaign turns out to be, watching Ferris Bueller 30 years after the fact offers a great reminder of how much the city has changed. The Willis Tower was the Sears Tower (to many Chicagoans it still is), and it didn't have its now-iconic "Ledge." The skyline wasn't nearly as saturated. Heck, the whole movie took place before Mayor Richard M. Daley took office. 

The move could produce longer-than-average lines at the Willis Tower this summer, but those are already pretty awful during peak tourist season anyway. If you do get caught in a two-hour wait at Chicago's tallest building, try to remember Ferris' classic mantra: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it."

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