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$1 deal: Movie, fun, & friends
Movies in Park returns to Woodward storm basin
Friends Angel Montoya, left, and Matthew Ender are all smiles as they set up their front row seats Saturday for the initial 2009 Movies in the Park screening. - photo by HIME ROMERO

• WHAT: Movies in the Park

WHERE: Woodward Park

• WHEN: Saturdays thru the end of July. Pre-movie entertainment starts at 6 p.m., movies after dusk. Gates open 5:30 p.m.

• COST: $1 charge for those 12 and over. Those under 12 are free.

•  MORE INFO: or call 1-916-760-7616.

Fred White knew that when he set out to take his family to the movies he’d be staring at an $80 bill by the time it was all said and done.

As a production company owner, White figured that it wouldn’t cost him much more money than that to put on a show for the entire community.

On Saturday, more than a hundred people braved 104 degree heat and filtered into Woodward Park for the start of the second year of Movies in the Park – accentuated this year by live band performances and events like Guitar Hero contests.

Seeing so many families coming out to the event, White said, was exactly what he was hoping to see when he came up with the concept.
“We wanted to create an environment where a mother and father could bring their children and enjoy the time with their family knowing that they’d be safe,” White said. “It’s good, safe family entertainment, and you can’t really beat that when the kids get in free and parents are only a dollar.”

Even with the stifling heat expected to last through the beginning of next week. Tuesday parents still brought out their children en masse – hunkering down in lawn chairs and on blankets while children played with siblings and friends nearby.

That family environment was exactly what brought Sal and Bertha Pena back after coming to last year’s successful run of events.

“Having that sort of an environment puts you at ease because you don’t have to worry about whether your kids are safe even if they’re not right there in front of you,” Sal said. “We’re definitely looking forward to coming back for the rest of the summer.”

And the event appeals to more than just parents with young children.

Kevin Gilmore spent the majority of his night laughing with friends as they got ready to watch “Journey to the Center of the Earth” after the Guitar Hero contest he was hoping to win got cut short due to extensive heat.

But hanging out with friends and enjoying a movie was more than enough to keep Gilmore’s interest.

“I like it – it’s a chance to come out and see a movie,” Gilmore said of the night. “And it’s a good chance to hang out with friends and enjoy yourself.”

There are also concessions such as popcorn and soft drinks. There are still opportunities for vendors at the weekly movie showing that drew up to 500 people a week during its inaugural run last year. For information on vendor booths call White at 922-2673.

The gates open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the storm basin. There is a $1 charge for those 12 and over to help cover city costs. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and jackets. Mosquito repellent is also suggested.

The movies are being presented by DeCristo Productions.

Other upcoming films are:
•July 4, “Indiana Jones.”
•July 11, “Tales of Desperaux.”
•July 18, “Bolt.”
•July 25, “Inkheart.”

Expanded Fourth of July
celebration being planned
White and other volunteers plan an expanded movies night on Saturday, July 4, to give people the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day as a community on the actual date.

It will include gospel singers, patriotic singers, and other entertainment.

There will only be the $1 charge that helps the volunteers offset their costs.