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'The Simpsons' tour highlights show's similarities to local spots

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - American families were introduced to "The Simpsons" of Springfield on December 17, 1989.

Now 25 years later, Travel Lane County is celebrating TV's so-called "First Family" with the launch of their Unofficial Simpsons Tour.

The tour was launched earlier this year to coincide with the Simpsons mural unveiling.

Lisa Lawton with Travel Lane County says that although the cartoon is fictitious, the tour allows people to decide for themselves if Lane County's Springfield is the "real" Springfield of "The Simpson".

"Many references in the show actually do reference local areas," she said. "For example, Max's Tavern is one of them - right down to the pickled eggs on the bar."

The tour includes stops like Max's Tavern, the Pioneer Statue on the University of Oregon campus, the Simpsons couch at the Springfield Museum and of course, the Springfield Mural.

"So it's really a fun way to just connect with the show and showcase some of the places people talk about in connection with the show," Lawton said. "What better way to celebrate than with a special tour where people can see for themselves?"

The show's creator, Matt Groening, has toyed with the notion that Springfield, Ore., is THE Springfield in the past.

The show is peppered with references to Oregon, from Principal Skinner (like the butte) to Sideshow Bob Terwilliger - the name of a Portland-area road.

"People are very in tune to the show, and I think it just enhances the allure of Springfield," Lawton said. "And there are so many wonderful positive things that are going on in Springfield right now: new theaters, restaurants, and breweries. This is something that will just further the attractiveness of Springfield and really encourage people who haven't been down here to come down and check it out."

You can find more information about the tour online at EugeneCascadesCoast.com.

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