For a small Northeast Iowa community, a movie theater can be a big attraction. But what do you do when you don’t have a standard indoor theater? Strawberry Point has come up with a great summertime solution. A common laptop hooked to a projector with large speakers provides free public outdoor entertainment in the Inger Park band shell. The event is simply called Movies in the Park.
What's an outdoor film-filled evening in Strawberry Point like? Well, walking toward the park, it is evident that you are in the right place. The familiar buttery scent of fresh popcorn fills the air. Children are laughing and playing on the adjacent playground equipment. A baby may be fussing as his mother is putting him to sleep before the main event. Kids of all ages are lined up to get their complementary bag of popcorn.
As the sun begins to shift and set, the lush mature trees provide a welcome shade over the park benches. Families start to spread blankets across the freshly trimmed grass, making it begin to appear more like a child’s play room than a park lawn. Others set up lawn chairs across the open green space.
Volunteers announce over a microphone, “We would like to thank you all for joining us for tonight’s movie. This event wouldn’t be possible without our local sponsors.” As all of the sponsors are recognized, the line for popcorn seems to grow longer. Soon, white paper bags filled with salty, buttery popcorn are accessorizing everyone’s seat. The sponsors have all been recognized, and the voice on the microphone says, “Remember, the popcorn and beverages are free all night, so please help yourself!”
Then, the show begins! The crowd silences and the sound of film previews fill the band shell. Occasionally, viewers go for a refill of drinks or popcorn. Otherwise, everyone relaxes ad intently focuses on the movie. All too soon, the movie is over. Once again, an event volunteer thanks everyone for coming and reminds them to watch the Strawberry Point Facebook Page to discover what movie they’ll enjoy next time, at Movies in the Park!
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons.