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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Enjoy Movies in the Park all summer long

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Javi Perez / Arizona Summer Wildcat


Families wait for the sun to go down to watch Shrek at Cox Communications’ Movies in the Park at Reid Park on Friday, June 19.

Tucson summers transform the average person into a nocturnal operator. The sun reigns supreme during the daytime, causing most folks to abandon all hope of spending time in broad daylight. Sunset signals the end of daylight and the beginning of socializing — there’s no better way to celebrate the end of toasty tyranny than Cox Communications’ family friendly Movies in the Park.

The act of watching a movie would suggest a solitary experience to today’s Netflix users, but people have been going to the theater in groups since the beginning of cinema. Drive-in theaters brought down the social barriers involved in quietly watching a movie for two hours, and Movies in the Park seeks to increase the mixing of social and movie-watching experiences. The laid back, picnic-esque atmosphere adds just the right amount of social bonding absent from traditional moviegoing.

Movies in the Park has humble beginnings. The event started in 2003 with just a projector and bed sheets and now boasts a 40-foot screen to capture their films’ cinematic glory.

Movies in the Park makes an effort to select timeless films that appeal both to children and older demographics. This summer, the event will screen a variety of family friendly films including classics like “The Princess Bride” and modern, popular films “Frozen” and “Big Hero 6.” The event even held a social media contest to select one of the films directly from suggestions given by the audience. The winner, “Penguins of Madagascar,” screened May 22 at the first Movies in the Park of the summer.

The appeal of Movies in the Park goes beyond the big screen. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., local food trucks start rolling in. Among this year’s vendors are tasty Tri-Tip BBQ and Mi Familia Sonoran Hot Dogs. Dessert is not to be overlooked with gelato provided by Bella’s Gelato Shoppe.

While parents chow down on exquisite local food, children can enjoy a variety of fun activities arranged by Movies in the Park staff. Kids always find a way to have fun, but with a bevy of face-painters, balloon twisters and jumping castles available, a good time is inevitable.

Movies in the Park is one of the many events put on by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. SAACA hosts a variety of Tucson staples, such as the Friday Night Live! Jazz Concert Series at Main Gate Square, the Oro Valley Concert Series and Musical Magic for Kids.

One piece of advice from SAACA communications director Caitlin Blanton: get there early.

“Typically by 6 p.m. there is a sizeable crowd, and by the time the movie starts every possible space is taken,” Blanton explained. “We do encourage attendees to bring blankets or camp chairs to sit on.”

SAACA does a wonderful job stepping in and providing an event that so many enjoy. The organization does so in the hope that Movies in the Park furthers the recognition of the arts and the importance of film as a part of the arts. The best way to show your appreciation is to show up and have some summer, film-going fun.

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Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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