Erin Trithart found it difficult to readjust to a small-town lifestyle after she moved home to Kittanning from Baltimore two years ago. So when Downtown Kittanning, started showing free movies once a month on a large screen at Riverfront Park, Trithart was excited. I think it's a great way for family and friends to spend a nice evening out in the park, she said. Downtown Kittanning Inc. began the venture this summer after receiving a $5,000 grant as part of a 250th anniversary celebration throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania in 2008. Projects and activities are being held in 14 counties all year in conjunction with Pittsburgh 250 a regional celebration of the naming of Southwestern Pennsylvania. DKI purchased a 16-by-9 foot inflatable movie screen with the grant, said president Marilyn Davidson.
We'll do this annually for as long as the screen holds out, she said. Without the grant, Davidson doubted that DKI would have been able to save $5,000 to purchase the screen. They made it a reality, she said.
At the first few movies, Davidson said about 250 people attended. Last month more than 400 filled the amphitheater, she said. We want to see this grow, she said. And it has since the first movie in May. The park's resources have gotten plenty of action this summer with DKI holding the movies and Arts on the Allegheny monthly summer concert series, both of which have been successful.
Although the movies are free for viewers, Farmers and Merchants Bank and Toy's Market and Cricket have sponsored the movies by paying licensing fees $200 per movie, she said. Concessions are sold at the movies and those proceeds will fund Kittanning's Light-Up Night, she said. It gives them something to do on a Friday night that's fun, Davidson said. Trithart can relate to that she said the movies appeal to all residents. I have seen people there who are senior citizens and many students from local high schools, she said. I think the movie selections have been appropriate for people of all ages and I commend the selection committee on finding movies that would appeal to all.
Although she enjoys the movies, Trithart understands the costs associated with putting on the shows. She encouraged community members to contribute to the groups who hold events in the park. I also think it is wonderful to offer free activities to our community because with the way our economy is these days, it is hard to find cheap activities for the whole family to enjoy, she said.