Crowds were singing along to the crazy lyrics of “We Go Together” blaring in Market Square as Danny and Sandy sang to each other during the final carnival scene of Grease.
Going to the movies was no longer a solitary experience. People weren’t reminded to turn off the lights — the sun would take care of that.
This was the case last Thursday when over 200 people gathered for the first film viewing of the summer, put on for Downtown Kingston!’s Movies in the Square event.
Movies in the Square is more than an ode to outdoor movie experiences that have been around for several decades — it’s a chance for community bonding.
With an array of selections ranging from sports film favourites to family friendly flicks, the event has been offered free of charge for the past six summers.
Downtown Kingston!, an organization that puts on free local events are the masterminds behind the weekly summer event. They’re also responsible for events like FebFest and the Buskers Festival.
Fourth-year student Leah Macnamara attended last Thursday’s viewing and Grease wasn’t the first film she had watched in Market Square because last summer she saw Father of the Bride.
With no car, Movies in the Square offered Macnamara the experience she had always craved.
She said the difference between movie theatres and outdoor movie viewing for her is that she’s able to talk to her friends without getting looks from other movie-goers.
“You’re going for the social aspect just as much as for the movie. You can have an area where you can sit and talk to your friends and still get a good view of the film,” she said.
Project manager for Downtown Kingston! Alex Amodeo said movies that are shown in the square are chosen based on appropriateness.
“People who come to the movie know what they’re coming for, but anyone can just be walking by and we don’t want tourists walking through Market Square with their ice creams and seeing nudity,” she said.
Amodeo added that it is her goal to make sure no movie that has already been shown at a previous Movies in the Square event gets repeated.
Those who want to stroll down to the Market Square can do so with their lawn chairs on Thursday nights. Viewers can include anyone from families with little children to seniors from retirement homes.
“My favourite thing that I’ve ever seen was this one woman who brought her five kids to a movie. She had this big bag and she sat the kids down and handed out five paper plates, then five napkins and then pulled out this big bucket of KFC,” Amodeo said.
Local radio stations 98.3 Fly FM and 98.9 The Drive collaborate with Downtown Kingston by posting a top 20 list of movies on their sites. People can then go on the website and vote for a top three.
Grease proved to be a popular movie choice — by the end of the movie, people were dancing by the fountain in the square to the final song of the film.
Some of the movies that will be playing this summer are Edward Scissorhands, The Lion King, The Sandlot and The Wizard of Oz.
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