Warm Summer Nights & a Movie in the Park

There’s something about the sight of lightning bugs illuminating the fields, the sound of maracas shaking from the cicadas in the trees.

I’m a big fan of summer nights. There’s something about the sight of lightning bugs illuminating the fields, the sound of maracas shaking from the cicadas in the trees. The warm air with a slight breeze, and the sense that time is still. No one is rushing to soccer practice, hurrying the kids to brush their teeth before bed, or setting the dreaded alarm for school the next morning.

The staff at Venues Parks & Arts knows those feelings all too well, which is why they celebrate summer with many free activities for the entire family. Get out of the house and enjoy one of the concert series in various South Bend parks each week, or curl up under the stars for one of the popular (and free!) Outdoor Film Series movies. Who doesn’t love a movie under the stars, loved ones in tow?

Kids and adults alike love the Outdoor Film Series, making it one of the most popular this summer. I talked to Elizabeth Leachman, Events Coordinator, who explains what makes the outdoor movies so much fun, and where you can catch the next one.

Jessica Spoor, E-Media Coordinator for Venues Parks & Arts: What seems to be your most popular summer event?

Elizabeth Leachman, Events Coordinator:Our summer concerts at Potawatomi and Seitz parks have traditionally drawn the biggest crowds, but our Outdoor Film Series has really taken off this year. We are offering more to do than just watching a movie at these events, so it’s an entire evening out for people. Plus, we’re offering different food and drink options to purchase, and tons of fun games and activities for everyone.

JS: Interesting! So why you think the film series is growing in popularity?

EL:The popularity comes from choosing really great, popular movies, a couple of our best parks to show them in, and lots of fun pre-movie activities. This series is only going to continue to grow and gain popularity!

JS: Who do you think these outdoor movies are for? Are they just for kids?

EL:Well, it depends on the movie. The first one we had was The Big Lebowski and we made it strictly for the 21+ crowd, and it was a huge hit. I think it gave everyone a chance to escape from their responsibilities and just enjoy a great, classic movie. The food and drinks that were available for purchase were fun too. I just think everyone enjoyed a night out with their friends, or a date night, and didn’t have to worry about anything. But our next two movies – Zootopia and Beauty and the Beast – are going to be really great events for the whole family to come out and see. And, you don’t have to have kids to enjoy these movies either. We will have something for everyone to enjoy, and the movies are a fun watch for both adults and kids!

JS: What can those who haven’t been to an Outdoor Film Series event expect?

EL:Expect a lot of fun! We have activities beginning at 8pm before the movie, which will tie into the theme of it. So for Zootopia, we’re going to have a nature scavenger hunt, an animal paper bag craft, and the Potawatomi Zoo is going to be out showing off some of their animals. We have lots of activities planned for Beauty and the Beast, too. There might even be the chance for a Belle sighting…

JS: Oh the kids will love that! I bet that will be a very popular movie night. Will people need to arrive really early?

EL: There’s plenty of space for everyone, so arriving extremely early isn’t necessaryI think Beauty and the Beast in particular will be especially popular because it’s the newest one that just came out and it captivates everyone – not just kids. So it’s probably going to be one of the most attended. And if you’re planning to come out early, we’ll have food and treats available for everyone to purchase or you can bring your own food and have a picnic. We just hope you sit back and enjoy a fun evening. It’s something different to do for families, and it’s even better that it’s offered for free!

JS: To wrap up, what and when will these movies be shown?

EL:We are showing Zootopia on Friday, July 21, at Potawatomi Park at Chris Wilson pavilion. And on August 25, we are showing the new Beauty and the Beast at Rum Village.Pre-movie activities start at 8:00 p.m. and the movie starts at dusk.


So…Are you marking your calendar for the next Outdoor Film Series? For more information on all of the concerts, movie nights, and more happening throughout the summer, visit www.sbvpa.org.