By TRAVIS MORSE firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON – Hopes are high for a large turnout at this Friday's Movie in the Park event, which will feature the popular animated comedy, “The Lorax.”
Based on the Dr. Seuss book, the film seemed like a perfect fit for the monthly program, said Wes Plummer, recreation coordinator for the Mt. Vernon Parks and Recreation Department.
The movie follows the story of a 12-year-old boy trying to win the heart of the girl of his dreams. In his quest to do so, he meets the Lorax, a creature struggling to protect his world.
“Being a popular children's book, that serves it well in being a family (film),” Plummer said. “Also, it has to do with nature and has a conservation theme to it.”
The Parks and Recreation Department hosts the Movie in the Park series for four months out of the year, June through September, on the third Friday of each month. The free program has been held for the past six years.
Organizers are starting this month's event slightly earlier than usual so that the film begins right around sunset. The showing of “The Lorax” will begin at 8 p.m. at Veterans Park instead of the usual 8:30 p.m.
There will also be a family pre-activity at 7:30 p.m. hosted by Kingdom Seed Ministries, the sponsor of this month's film.
The pre-activity will feature a series of “odd” challenges kids can complete for prizes such as gift cards and games, Plummer said. Examples of challenges include balancing an object on your head for a minute, and seeing how many pin balls you can get into a basket.
In addition, the West Salem Trinity United Methodist Church will sell concessions at the event to raise money for mission trips.
The leaders of Kingdom Seed Ministries decided to host a Movie in the Park as a way for the church to establish more of a presence in the community, said Ericka Henry, community center director for KSM and secretary for the Parks and Recreation Department.
“It's our responsibility to form relationships with the community and meet them where they are,” Henry said. “It's important to Kingdom Seed Ministries to be available to the community and accessible.”
With the start of District 80 schools right around the corner, the Movie in the Park is a great way to get in some last minute family fun before summer ends, Plummer said.
“This is an opportunity to get a little family time in before schedules go back to being hectic, and it's free,” Plummer said.
Weather is a huge factor in determining the turnout at each month's Movie in the Park.
The June showing of “Madagascar 3” brought in about 200 people. Last month's presentation of “Wreck-It Ralph,” though, only drew about 100 people because rainy weather forced organizers to show the film inside.
“When we're outside, when the weather cooperates, we expect anywhere from 200 to 300 people,” Plummer said.
He added that the weather forecast is favorable for this Friday. But if there is rain, the film will be shown inside.
“There's definitely a great chance to see one of the movies,” Plummer said. “Humidity is down, temperatures are down. You may even have to break out a sweatshirt when the sun goes down.”
For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 242-6890.