RochesterJune 26, 2012
The big screen comes to downtown Rochester
By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer
ROCHESTER — A portion of downtown Rochester will transform into an outdoor theater during the city’s annual Movies in the Moonlight series on Saturday nights this summer.
In an effort to draw more people downtown during the Main Street Makeover, the city’s Downtown Development Authority has expanded the popular free film series from four movies to six this year.
Also for the first time this year, the Rochester DDA is partnering with Rochester Community Kitchen, so moviegoers are encouraged to drop off nonperishable food donations in a box near the Third Street entrance at all six Movies in the Moonlight.
When the Rochester Community Kitchen program was started three years ago, Rochester Community House Director Mary Lee Kowalczyk said it fed 65 people a year. Now the program has grown to include 290 people.
“We always need cereal very badly, and crackers. We can also use peanut butter, breakfast bars, spaghetti sauce, pasta, bar soap, hand soap, dish soap and laundry soap. Those are the easy things to drop off that we need,” she said.
DDA Events Coordinator Stephanie Schwager said Movies in the Moonlight is one of the DDA’s most popular events, drawing anywhere from 500-800 people. This year, the DDA hopes to attract even larger crowds, and encourages them to grab a bit to eat at a downtown restaurant or hit some of the shops before the free films each week to show their support for the downtown merchants during construction.
Each Saturday night through Aug. 4, a different movie will be projected onto a large screen near the parking lot at the corner of East Third and Water, one block east of Main. Featured movies begin at dusk, around 9:15 p.m., and will be shown rain or shine, according to Schwager.
“We tried to get something for everyone,” said Schwager. “While ‘Puss in Boots’ and ‘The Smurfs’ might draw a younger crowd, I think people of all ages will be interested in ‘Hugo,’ ‘Dolphin Tale’ and ‘Captain America.’ Then, since ‘The Help’ was such an awesome movie, and everyone read the book, that’s our one adult movie this year.”
Before each movie, starting at 8:30 p.m., attendees can enjoy a different pre-show activity, which will incorporate the theme of the film each week.
Movies in the Moonlight kicks off June 30 with “Puss in Boots,” which follows a sword-fighting cat on an adventure. The movie, rated PG, runs 90 minutes and is presented by Moon River Soap Co. Before the show, families can learn where the star of the movie got his skills by watching a fencing demonstration by Honor Guard Fencing.
The fun continues July 7, when “Captain America: The First Avenger” is projected onto a large screen at dusk. The movie follows Steve Rogers’ journey into becoming Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending the USA’s ideals. The movie, rated PG-13, runs for 124 minutes. Before the movie, the community will have a chance to win prizes by answering some superhero trivia questions.
On July 14, “Hugo” will be shown, courtesy of The Robot Garage in Birmingham. The film tells the story of an orphaned boy who secretly lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station and gets caught up in an adventure when he attempts to repair a mechanical man. The movie, rated PG, runs for 126 minutes. Before the film, kids can build robots, courtesy of The Robot Garage.
Rochester Dairy Queen will present the showing of “Dolphin Tale” July 21. The film, which is based on true events, centers on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap. The movie, rated PG, runs for 113 minutes. The pre-show will feature a “pin the tale on flipper” game for kids.
On July 28, “The Help” will be shown downtown. The movie follows an aspiring author who decides to write a book from the maids’ point of view about the Southern families they work for during the 1960s. The film, rated PG-13, runs for 146 minutes. Attendees are encouraged to participate in a “pie walk” for prizes before the show.
The movie series will conclude Aug. 4 with “The Smurfs,” which tells the tale of the tiny blue creatures’ journey into the world of humans — in New York City — after the evil wizard Gargamel chases them out of their magical village. The show, rated PG, runs 103 minutes. Those who attend the movie are asked to dress in blue. Prizes will be awarded for the “best in blue.”
Admission to the movie series is free, so organizers encourage attendees to arrive early for the best seating and to bring their own chairs or blankets to sit on. Moviegoers are also allowed to bring their own snacks — but no alcohol or glass containers are allowed — or they can purchase popcorn, candy, hot dogs and soft drinks at the Rochester Lions Club concession wagon.
For more information, call the Rochester DDA at (248) 656-0060 or visit www.downtown rochestermi.com/events/movies -in-the-moonlight.
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