After 20 years, ‘Dive-in Movies’ still make end-of-summer splash

Here’s a look at the Parks Bureau’s outdoor pools’ fun ‘last hurrah’ for the season …

With hundreds of “Dive-in Movie” goers cued up to get into the Creston Pool, Portland Parks & Recreation lifeguards give a group cheer after their briefing and assignments.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) gets ready to button up their outdoor swimming pools for the season, several of the facilities provide a special event during their last week of operation, a “Dive-in Movie”.

“We’ve been holding Dive-In Movies during the last week of August for the last twenty years,” said PP&R Aquatic Coordinator, SE Portland Pools Adam McGowan.

For years, PP&R Aquatic Coordinator, SE Portland Pools Adam McGowan says families look forward to the movie at the end of every outdoor pool season.

The night before, on August 20, they held their first Dive-in Movie at the Montavilla Pool in outer East Portland, McGowan commented. “Tonight, we’re showing The Lego Movie here at the Creston Pool, in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood.” That was the movie chosen for all five citywide Dive-in Movie events this year.

When they first came up with the novel idea of showing a movie for folks soaking in an outdoor pool, their set-up was primitive, he said. “We were using a first-generation video projector, and showing VHS tapes on bed sheets we’d sewn together. Now, we have a rear-projection screen, with great stereo sound, to show movies off digital DVDs.”

Peter Harmon and Wren Harmon pick out their spot to watch the “Dive-In Movie” in the Creston Pool.

At the pool, dozens of float rings and “water noodles” abounded. “And, we turn up the temperature of the water by a few degrees, so it’s a bit more cozy,” McGowan told East Portland News. “Toward the end of the evening it can get a little chilly.”

Different from typical swim sessions is the abundance of life guards on duty – including two SCUBA divers trolling the pool’s floor. “Safety is always our top priority; but especially in an event like this when it starts getting dark. We have about twice as many lifeguards on duty.”

All heads turn toward the big screen as The Lego Movie begins.

Because it’s been a tradition, patrons start asking if the pool will again host a Dive-In Movie. “So, it’s become important. It’s become something that many families look forward to every year,” remarked McGowan. “To be able to offer the movie and have people look forward to it all year – and then seeing the kids having fun – makes for a really good time. We all love it.”

Some kids watched the movie; others played tag, splashed their parents and friends, and some floated in the warm water, apparently looking up at the late-summer evening sky.

McGowan observed, “Whether or not they’re actually paying attention to the movie doesn’t make a lot of difference, does it?”

Dive-In Movies provide a fun and unique way to end summer vacation for many East Portland area families.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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