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Early plans revealed for Rambo 40th anniversary celebration in Hope

This year marks four decades for Sylvester Stallone’s locally-filmed hit 1980s action movie
John Rambo - or at least his wooden likeness – will welcome visitors to town when Hope celebrates the 40th anniversary of Rambo: First Blood. (Photo/Adam Louis)

Organizers expect to welcome people from all over the world this fall when Hope celebrates the 40th anniversary of Rambo: First Blood.

The hit movie was filmed in Hope in November/December of 1981 and released internationally in October of 1982.

Since the 20th anniversary in 2002, Hope has held a celebration every five years, and Brian McKinney suggested this year’s event over the Thanksgiving long weekend (Oct. 7-10, 2022) will be the biggest yet.

McKinney and Tracy Paynter, from Tourism Hope Cascades and Canyons, made a presentation to District of Hope council at the May 24 meeting. While some details of the celebration, including some expected ‘special guests,’ aren’t being released publicly until June, buzz is already building.

“Folks are coming from as far away as England and Japan, and from coast to coast, and the information isn’t even public yet,” McKinney said. “This event has become a global attraction, which is what we want.”

It’ll be held over four days and Paynter said community and business buy-in will be key to making the event a success.

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“We’ve visited a good portion of the businesses in town already, encouraging them to get involved,” Paynter said. “Specials in their stores or restaurants. Dressing up their windows and staff. Having sales that are First Blood themed. We’ve had a great amount of business involvement through donations so far and the feedback has been great. We’re excited to see that everybody’s excited.”

The 35th anniversary celebration in 2017 included a show at the Hope Arts Gallery, and that will be part of this year’s event. Paynter told council there will be a show in the week leading up to, and during the celebration, and a call will be going out to local artisans.

“Whatever people make, paint, draw, will be for sale and there for the visitors to have a look at and take pictures of,” Paynter said.

The ‘Where’s Rambo’ contest was hugely popular five years ago and returns in 2022. Businesses hide pictures of Rambo in their store, and visitors are encouraged to hunt them down.

“The idea is to get people into those businesses, engaging with business owners and spending money,” Paynter said. “It was very successful in 2017 and we’re looking forward to doing it again.”

On the never-seen-before side, organizers are teaming up with Hippie Mike Industries for a skateboarding ‘trick contest,’ open to all ages and skill levels.

On the Sunday (Oct. 9), a portion of Wallace Street will be closed off to accommodate First Blood activity. From 3rd to 4th Avenue, McKinney said there will be vehicles from the movie on display and vendors selling wares.

“The highlight of the day will be a 500,000 pound tank crushing a bunch of cars,” he said. “It’s going to be something I don’t think our community has seen before.”

McKinney said there will be a drone flying overhead all day, getting overhead views of what he hopes will be “hundreds, if not thousands,” of Rambo fans.

McKinney also revealed there will be a documentary film crew in town prior to, during and after the event.

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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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