Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Lifestyles

June 1, 2014

Library's outdoor movies provide fun family night

ASHLAND — Attack of the killer tomatoes! Attack of the killer tomatoes! They’ll beat you, bash you, squish you, mash you, chew you up for brunch, and finish you off for dinner or lunch!”

Feel free to sing along if you like: about 75 did Halloween night in 2008 when Boyd County Public Library unveiled its outdoor movie equipment for the first time. The following spring, BCPL’s Pictures in the Park series began.

The program is one of my personal favorites and continues to grow in popularity. Over the years, the event has changed locations, moving from the Library Commons, to Judd Plaza, and now to its current home at the Central Park Bandstand. We have experimented with which day of the week the movie should be shown and have shown a wide variety of movies ranging from “Grease” to “The Little Mermaid,” hoping to appeal to young, old and everyone in between. Essentially, BCPL wants to offer one of the best, free, family fun nights around, and I believe that this year we have finally gotten it right!

While you wait for the sun to set and the fun at the Central Park Bandstand to begin, head over to First Friday in downtown Ashland. This event, just as the name suggests, is the first Friday of each month, beginning in April through October.  There are plenty of activities to keep your children occupied; live music, a car show, and the artists at the Pendleton Art Center are sure to have their studio doors open. 

While at First Friday, you may just happen to meet The Story Lady, too. She’s been known to attend the event, snapping pictures with kids (and a few adults) while inviting everyone to a fun story time and activity at Central Park Bandstand after the First Friday festivities.

The Story Lady begins at 8 p.m. She will tell interactive stories and do a craft or activity with the children while the adults set up chairs and spread out blankets for the evening’s movie. Once the sun has set, and it’s dark enough to see the picture on the large outdoor screen, the movie will begin. When the stars finally come out and the movie starts, it’s kind of magical.

There is something so special about sitting outside and watching a movie. I think it makes adults a little nostalgic, remembering the days of drive-in-theaters. It’s also nice (and a lot less stressful) to know your little one can roll around on a blanket or play with friends in the grass once they’ve exceeded their “be still and quiet” mark.

Last month, I, ahem, The Story Lady (don’t tell the children!) dressed up as an ice princess to coordinate with that evenings movie, “Frozen.” Although I didn’t have the pre-packaged Disney-version costume of the movie’s main character, Elsa, I simply put on a white wig, added a silver cape over a white gown and donned a tiara.

Many of the children thought I was Elsa anyway. They wanted to just stand next to me, have their picture taken and ask “Elsa” many questions about her “Frozen” friends.  One little girl even told me (after Elsa had left for the evening and I was back to normal) that she had met Elsa, had their picture taken together and that “it was the best day!” 

I love having the opportunity to give people “the best day.” Pictures in the Park and The Story Lady are such a fun evening and I invite you to check it out for yourself. There are three movies left in this year’s series. The next movie on June 6 will be “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (1988); July 11 “Alice in Wonderland” (1951); and the final movie for the year will be “The Lego Movie” (2014) on August 1. Because the first Friday in July is Independence Day, Pictures in the Park will not occur on the first Friday, rather it will be moved to the following Friday. The Library provides popcorn, soda and a sweet snack at each Pictures in the Park movie event. Please bring your own blankets and chairs.

Just like the days at the drive-in theater, Pictures in the Park and The Story Lady offers families a way to connect and make lasting memories. For more information on this and other library programs, visit thebookplace.org.

AMANDA CLARK is adult programming supervisor for Boyd County Public Library.

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