Stars are not the only thing illuminating summer night skies.
Giant inflatable screens appear in parks while grassy fields are dotted with colorful blankets and chairs. As the sun sinks below the horizon, residents gather to take advantage of free outdoor movie nights all across Utah.
“I think it’s a unique experience especially for those that maybe have never been to an outdoor movie in that way,” said Whitney Booth, Provo’s community program director. “And it’s free. Everyone likes free things. I definitely think everyone should come out and experience it.”
Usage of the word “free” may puzzle a few, but that is exactly what cities throughout Utah are offering.
“Our main purpose is to provide fun, free and affordable recreational opportunities for the community,” Booth said. “We choose movies that all ages can enjoy, especially families, and we welcome college students to come join in.”
Venues include cities such as Salt Lake, Draper, Sandy, South Jordan, Magna, Millcreek, Springville and Provo. Movies are shown during different months, depending on location, offering family favorites such as “Tangled,” “Megamind” and “Despicable Me.”
Pre-movie entertainment is often available for those who come early to save their spot. Moviegoers can listen to jazz bands, sing karaoke or even play Wii games as they are projected on the jumbo screen.
First time outdoor moviegoers Ben and Natalee Francom from Riverton brought their young family to an event after hearing about it from friends.
“We just want the kids to enjoy themselves and some free entertainment,” said Ben Francom. “You can’t beat that.”
These outdoor movies also seem to help bring neighbors together.
“It feels good to be part of the community,” his wife said.
Moviegoers bring chairs and blankets and often grab popcorn and other treats when concessions are available. Sometimes free treats are even passed out to early arrivals.
Nathan White, a student at Snow College, enjoyed an outdoor movie recently. His favorite part was seeing “How to Train Your Dragon” for the first time.
“It was nice to smell the fresh air and good to be with friends and to be among a lot of people,” White said.
Free outdoor movies aren’t the only options available to movie fans. The few remaining drive-in movie theaters, which also provide an outdoor movie experience at a cheaper rate than indoor theaters, are a good option for those on a budget.
SUMMER MOVIE INFORMATION
Time: Monday nights, gates open at 7 p.m. with the movie starting at dusk (about 9 p.m.)
Location: Springville Arts Park (700 S. 1300 East)
Bring: Blankets or folding chairs
July 11 feature film- Yogi Bear (PG)
July 18 Cats and Dogs – The Revenge of Kitty Galore (PG)
July 25 (No Movie because of Folkfest)
Aug. 1 Despicable Me (PG)
Aug. 8 Megamind (PG)
Aug.15 Tangled (PG)
Time: Monday nights at dusk (about 9 p.m.)
Location: Rock Canyon Park (2620 N. 1200 East)
Bring: Blankets, chairs and bug repellent
Entertainment: Karaoke before the movie
Concessions: Bring a few extra bucks for candy, popcorn and drinks
Aug. 1: Sorcerer’s Apprentice (PG)
Aug. 8: Tangled (PG)
Aug. 15: Prince of Persia (PG-13)
Aug. 22: Despicable Me (PG)
Aug. 29: TRON (PG)