Free outdoor flick fest provides family fun

In August, the “Big Screen on the Green” is traveling to public parks all across Southeast Portland. Check out what is showing at a park near you.

Popcorn in hand, Jeanette and Nicole Finley get ready to watch Charlotte’s Web with their friends, Christa and Chelle Oakley.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although the days of drive-in theatres are over, there’s a new venue for families in East Portland to see major motion pictures together‚ outdoors.

While it’s not the drive-in “passion pit” that baby-boomers may remember, “Big Screen on the Green”, a free program put on by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)‚ revives the idea of seeing movies out-of-doors, with your friends and neighbors.“I believe this is the definitive community activity,” says the program’s developer, PP&R’s Southeast Services Manager Jeff Milkes. “We’re offering a great, free summer activity that is an extremely positive use of our SE Portland parks.”

Big screen and sound
The portable projection system features a 268-square-foot movie screen and an exceptional sound system. “What a great family activity for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings this summer!” Milkes exclaims. “And, the location allows families to enjoy the beauty of their own neighborhood.”

PP&R’s Southeast Services Manager Jeff Milkes tells outdoor movie-goers where to find the “Big Screen on the Green”‚ coming to parks all over SE Portland this month.

Sponsors for this year’s program include Comcast and Starbucks; a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood-based printing concern also signed up for a three-year sponsorship of the event.

“When Jeff Milkes told me about the project. I said I’d love to become part of it,” Home Run Graphics owner Richard Kiely tells us. “This program brings families together; it helps them connect, instead of sitting at home in front of the TV ignoring one another. And, it makes for a better community. When neighbors get to know each other, crime drops and livability increases.”

Curtain time at 8:00 p.m.
Movies will begin at dusk (between 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.), and are offered “weather permitting”. Any rainout will be called by 5 p.m., if necessary, and will be posted at the park. Prior to each movie attendees will be greeted with live entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m.

What would a good movie be without popcorn? Shari Robinson, part of the PP&R traveling movie crew, hands out free popcorn to guests.

“Big Screen on the Green” schedule:

  • Friday, August 3, at Laurelhurst Park: The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Saturday, August 4, at Kenilworth Park: Wallace & Grommet
  • Thursday, August 9, at Col. Summers Park: The Breakfast Club
  • Friday, August 10, at Dickinson Park: The Wizard of Oz
  • Saturday, August 11, at Woodstock Park: Shrek 2
  • Friday, August 17, at Laurelhurst Park: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Saturday, August 18, at Hazeltine Park: Madagascar
  • Friday, August 24, at Brentwood Park: Happy Feet
  • Saturday, August 25, at Sellwood Park: Shrek 2
  • Friday, August 31, at Brooklyn Park: Blades of Glory
  • Friday, September 7, at Lents Park: Stomp the Yard
  • Saturday, September 8, at Dickinson Park: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

For more information on “Big Screen on the Green: Movies in the Park” and other Portland Parks & Recreation programs visit www.portlandparks.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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