When Thaddeus Cohen came to work as the city's Community Redevelopment Agency director in December 2007, he immediately started identifying ways to bring people downtown.
One of those ideas was "Friday Family Flicks," a series of free outdoor family-friendly movies shown on a three-story inflatable screen every third Friday from May through August, at Commendencia Slip Pier.
And it worked. The average crowd at last year's Friday Family Flicks was about 900 people, Cohen said. Last year's final showing in August drew 1,400.
This year's flicks start Friday.
It takes about $5,000 a year in CRA funds to offer the movies.
Vendors sell popcorn and snacks. Families, teens and older couples alike bring yard chairs and blankets and have a picnic while watching a G- or PG-rated movie. Some folks just sit in their parked cars and pretend it's a drive-in.
"We think the downtown restaurants did well because of it last year, too," Cohen said. "We would see a lot of people with takeout boxes before and after the movie."
Music and activities start at 7:30 p.m., and the PG movie, "Bedtime Stories," starts about 8 p.m.