It's Showtime in Market Square
Jeff Heuchert A night out at the movies can now mean exactly that thanks to a new initiative from Stratford's City Centre Committee.
This Sunday, June 28, the downtown businesses, through the committee, will host their first of three Movies In the Square this summer. A popular family film will be projected onto a 25 x 14-foot inflatable screen large enough to accommodate 1,000 viewers in the parking lot behind city hall.
It's something we're really excited about, says Michael Lutzmann, event coordinator for the City Centre Committee, who adds that the movie nights are a way for the committee's members to say thanks to residents for their continued support.
The businesses are trying to give back to the people who support them, he notes.
Lutzmann adds that the events are the latest initiative from the committee to help get people thinking about alternative uses for Market Square; the committee uses the space annually for its Canada Day celebration.
(Market Square) is a people place, not a car place, he says.
Viewers are asked to bring their own seating; they will be able to choose their own spot. An area will be set aside for wheelchair accessibility and refreshments will be available for sale.
Lutzmann says the movies will start as soon as it's dark, approximately 9:30 p.m. The first movie to be screened is the fairy tale classic The Princess Bride. The movie, rated G, is suitable for all ages.
Lutzmann says based on feedback they've received from the company providing the inflatable screen, which has organized similar events in other municipalities, the committee is expecting a good-sized crowd, up to 500 people, for the first showing.
Video Plus Books and CDs is the major sponsor for the movie nights, along with Domino's Pizza, the City of Stratford, CJCS/MIX 107, MacLeod's Scottish Shop, Pediatric AIDS Canada and Catherine Wright Designs.
To thank them for their support, Lutzmann says media students at Stratford Central Secondary School are putting together 30-second commercials on each of the sponsors, which will be shown prior to the films.
As for what other movies they will show later this summer on July 26 and Aug. 30, the committee is asking for the public's help. A ballot containing six choices is now available on the CJCS website, www.cjcsradio.com, and will also be distributed at The Princess Bride showing on June 28. The top two movies in overall votes will be shown in July and August.
Those planning to attend are asked to watch the CJCS website and the City Centre bulletin boards throughout the downtown for any weather-related cancellations. Decisions will be made on the Saturday evening prior to the event.
Lutzmann says the idea of showing movies in Market Square has been tossed around for the last couple of years but that it took time to free up money in the committee's budget, noting that each movie nights is costing approximately $2,200 to run. He says the committee is also considering hosting a third event each year some form of a spring celebration likely in April.