Free family movie night comes to South athletic field

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 14, 2013

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Local families will be able to travel to a galaxy far, far away without traveling a long distance from home.

The third annual All Grosse Pointes Family Outdoor Movie will take place at dusk — around 9 p.m. — on the Grosse Pointe South High School football field, where “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” will be shown on a large screen. This event is free and open to residents of any of the five Pointes and their guests; attendees should bring their park passes for admission. The rain date is the next evening, Aug. 18.

Released in 1983 and produced by George Lucas, “Return of the Jedi” is one of the classic “Star Wars” movies and features Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. It’s rated PG.

Attendees should bring chairs or blankets to sit on, and mosquito repellent to ward off biting pests. Regular-sized chairs are fine and shouldn’t obstruct the views of others, organizers said. Farms City Manager Shane Reeside said there’s no advance registration needed — people can just show up that evening.

Alcohol and smoking aren’t allowed, but attendees can bring food and beverages, Grosse Pointe Park Parks and Recreation Director Terry Solomon said. Through the Grosse Pointe Public School System, she said they can also purchase concessions that evening — items like pop, hot dogs and popcorn.

Families who want to stake out a particular spot should arrive early and bring footballs, Frisbees and tailgating games to stay entertained while they wait, Solomon said.

“Most of the people wheel in (their chairs, games and food) in a wagon,” she said.

Reeside said they don’t have precise figures on attendance since this event started, but it seems to be getting more popular. Solomon said they believe a couple hundred people came last year.

“I think definitely the attendance increased last year,” Reeside said. “It seems to be something that, through word of mouth and promotion, we seem to have had a good response to.”

In 2012, Solomon said attendees were treated to a surprise double feature.

“Last year, it was incredible. We lost the attention of everyone because there were meteor showers, so no one watched the movie,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that, in the city, we could see them that clearly.”

In previous years, organizers showed movies aimed at younger children, but because it needs to be dark to start the screening and the little ones often had to leave before the movie was over, Solomon said they’re opting for something that will appeal to older kids and adults this year. 

For many attendees, it’s less about the movie and more about the community camaraderie.

“We have people coming and going all night long,” Solomon said.

Like the joint Daddy-Daughter Dance now offered by the five Pointes, this is another example of the cities collaborating to offer programs for residents that won’t strain tight municipal budgets. Solomon said South is “centrally located,” and the field can accommodate a big crowd. Hosting it together is “much cheaper than if we did it on our own,” she said.

Attendees can enter the field off of Fisher Road, Farms Parks and Recreation Director Richard Huhn said.

“It’s close to home for everybody,” Solomon said. “(And) it’s a lot of fun.”

Grosse Pointe South High School is located at Fisher and Grosse Pointe Boulevard in the Farms. For more information, call your city’s Parks and Recreation Department.