Salt Lake City, Utah: Free Outdoor Movies in the Park are a Hit

Outdoor Movies in Salt Lake City, UtahTake a nice spread of lawn, add some blankets, popcorn and a slew of movie goers and what have you got? "Friday Night Flicks," of course. Sponsored by the Salt Lake City Corporation, television station CW30, and Clear Channel Radio stations, "Friday Night Flicks," now in its third year, is more than just a night out - it's a free night out. And that's something to write home about. "Free is always great," says Tyler Curtis, City Events Manager for the Salt Lake City Corporation. "Babies are in strollers, college students bring their dates, even grandmas and grandpas run the gamut." And because various movies show at seven different city parks throughout the summer, Curtis said every person in the neighborhood "gets a chance to see it close by their home. They can get out with their neighbor." "The movie is kind of secondary at that point," he continues. First and foremost is neighbors "hanging out." Last year, Salt Lake City Corporation banded with CW30. They were playing their own movies every Friday night at the Utah State Fairgrounds and doing well. Monday evenings for the Salt Lake City Corporation was less attended and so the two groups struck up an agreement: continue to have the Friday night shows, but rotate them at various Salt Lake City parks. Today, folks young and old can get more than a taste of movies such as the "Bee Movie," "Evan Almighty," and "Nacho Libre," to name just a few. And they can see them at the Utah State Fairgrounds, Fairmont Park and Rotary Glen Park, respectively; though there is a slim chance the movie might be rained out. The first year, when the movie nights were every other Monday, two shows were canceled and re-scheduled due to rain and wind. Last year, there were no Friday rainouts and this year there are no plans for re-scheduling a rained out performance though "anything could change," says Curtis. "We will be showing a movie every week this year, the same as last year," he said. "In the past, the movies were every other week with room to re-schedule." All Friday movies are shown on a large inflatable screen. For food, Little Caesar's will sell pizzas for $5, and free popcorn for movie goers will be provided by the Salt Lake City Corporation. "We usually go through 250 to 300 bags of popcorn," says the corporation's Event Supervisor Cynthia Stringham. Last year, "Friday Night Flicks" brought in roughly 400 members of the community, and she admits she gets a kick out of the people who attend. "People cheer for the heroes and boo for the villain. It really is a fun way for the community to get involved. It's a nice, relaxing event." This year, for the first time, the community was able to vote online for their favorite movies. The winners? "Goonies," "The Muppet Movie," and "Shrek the Third." Prior to this year the Salt Lake district council chose the movies. "We wanted to get the public involved," Stringham said. 2008 Friday Night Flicks EVAN ALMIGHTY June 20 Fairmont Park 900 E. 2361 South Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman Rated PG; 90 minutes; 2007 SHREK THE THIRD June 27 Jordan Park 900 W. 1000 South Voices by, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas Rated PG; 92 minutes; 2007 CHARLOTTE'S WEB July 11 Liberty Park 600 E. 1000 South Voices by: Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey Rated G; 113 minutes; 2006 NACHO LIBRE July 18 Rotary Glen Park 2770 E. 800 South Jack Black, Efrin Ramirez, Moises Arias Rated PG; 100 minutes; 2006 THE MUPPET MOVIE July 25 Lindsay Gardens 9th Avenue and M Street Voices of Jim Henson and Frank Oz Rated G; 94 minutes; 1979

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