Kevin Bacon Makes Epic Return to Payson High on Prom Day, Celebrating 40 Years of ‘Footloose’!

Last Saturday, the iconic “Footloose” actor Kevin Bacon embarked on a nostalgic journey back to the filming location of the beloved 1984 movie, as reported by KUTV. Returning to the school in Payson, Utah, where many memorable scenes were captured, Bacon’s visit coincided with the momentous 40th anniversary of the film. However, his trip held bittersweet significance, as the school is slated for demolition in the spring of 2025, marking the end of an era.

As Bacon stepped onto the hallowed grounds of the high school’s football field, his presence evoked a sense of reverence and excitement. According to KSL-TV, the actor couldn’t resist the urge to dance a few steps, echoing the exuberant spirit of the film that had captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.

Addressing the gathered Payson student body with warmth and nostalgia, Bacon shared his reflections on the passage of time and the enduring legacy of “Footloose.” “Go Lions! Here we are on this beautiful, beautiful spot on this beautiful, beautiful day,” Bacon exclaimed in his opening remarks, as recounted by the television station. “It’s been a long time — 40 years — that just blows my mind, you know. Things look a little different around here. I’d say the thing that looks the most different is me.”

Bacon’s poignant words resonated with those in attendance, encapsulating the profound impact that the film had on both his career and the cultural landscape. As he reminisced about his experiences filming “Footloose” and celebrated the enduring legacy of the movie, Bacon’s visit served as a touching tribute to the magic of cinema and the timeless allure of dance.

Bacon’s highly-anticipated appearance marked the culmination of a grassroots movement dubbed “Bacon to Payson,” as reported by KUTV. This concerted effort aimed to bring Ren McCormack, the character immortalized by Bacon in “Footloose,” back to the school for one final celebration before its impending demolition.

Addressing the eager students gathered before him, Bacon expressed his initial disbelief at the fervent campaign to bring him back to Payson. “When I first heard about #BacontoPayson, I was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy,'” he shared with heartfelt sincerity, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune. “But you were all just tireless, unrelenting in your desire to have me return, and you talked me into it.”

Bacon went on to commend the students for their unwavering commitment and the profound impact of the film on fostering unity and shared values. “I think it’s great to see that kind of commitment to anything,” he remarked. “I also think that it’s amazing the power that this movie has had to just kind of bring people together, and connect on the basic ideas there are behind the movie.”

The actor’s visit wasn’t just a nostalgic trip down memory lane; it also served a philanthropic purpose. Bacon’s appearance was part of the BKxKB community kit-building program, organized in collaboration with his charity,, as detailed by The Tribune. Established in 2007, endeavors to support impactful initiatives that enrich local communities. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of “Footloose,” the organization set a goal of creating and distributing 40,000 resource kits nationwide this year.

In Payson, students contributed 5,000 kits as part of the program, a testament to their dedication and enthusiasm. Their relentless efforts to bring Bacon back to Utah, including staging a “Footloose” pep rally and performing a stage adaptation of the movie, ultimately paid off.

While Bacon did not attend the actual prom, his presence in Payson left an indelible mark on the community. Jim Rowland, president of the Payson Chamber of Commerce, attested to the profound economic impact of “Footloose” on the city, emphasizing its significance in bolstering local businesses and tourism.

In the end, Bacon’s visit served as a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of “Footloose” and its ability to inspire unity, compassion, and celebration within communities like Payson. As the city continues to cherish its connection to the iconic film, the spirit of dance and camaraderie lives on, resonating with generations both young and old.

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