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Springfield, Vt., loves 'Simpsons'

Springfield, Vt., loves 'Simpsons'

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

Maybe Homer just figured it was time to go green.

Whatever the reason, tiny Springfield, Vt., beat out 13 other like-named cities Tuesday for the right to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie, winning an online poll in which it wasn't even invited to participate.

On July 21, the town's 100-seat movie theater will screen 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 U.S. 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 20th 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 chased 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.

Florida's Springfield got the lowest vote total, 1,386.

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."

According to USA Today, which ran the vote on its Web site, the 13 other Springfields that participated will be given small screenings of their own the night before the movie opens nationwide.


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