Families and Friends Gather for Downtown La Porte’s Summertime Movie Night

By: Carly Kwiecien Last Updated: July 25, 2015

On Friday evening, the Herald Argus Parking Lot was filled with hundreds of families as a part of Downtown La Porte’s summertime movie night series. The featured film, Frozen, attracted families and friends alike to enjoy a warm summer evening under La Porte's skyline and stars. The parking lot quickly turned into a place for grandparents, parents and their children to meet Princess Anna and Queen Elsa, to grab a bite and to watch a movie together. Children were also offered the opportunity to ride ponies, and jump in a Bump n’ Jump Playhouses bounce house.

To see more photos from the event, click here!

The Downtown Movie Nights first began in 2005, as a result of a group that no longer exists called the Downtown La Porte Action Committee. Since then, three movies have been featured each summer, captivating the interest of hundreds of LaPorteans. All Friday Night at the Movies events are now products of the Downtown La Porte Main Street Association.

“I was in the group that were the very first developers of the Downtown Movie Nights. It was one of those things that came out of a meeting that ended with, ‘This is a cool idea, now how do we do this?’ We first bought a tarp for $50 that is still on the wall, bungee cord that holds up the tarp in which the movie is displayed and we gathered cardboard boxes to cover the lights so we can darken the area. The bank brought free popcorn for everyone, and B & J’s American Cafe brought food and sold it from the back of their restaurant,” Fran Milo said.

Until Frozen, the best movie turnout was E.T., which hosted a few hundred moviegoers.

“The goal of every movie night is to provide a great and memorable experience at no cost to kids and adults alike. My personal goal is to blow the attendance record set by last year’s film ‘Despicable Me 2’ of 425 out of the water,” said Thaddeus Cutler, Downtown La Porte Director.

He did just that. There were close to one thousand people in attendance.

This movie night, which is open to the public, is free so mothers, fathers and grandparents can enjoy a nice movie under the stars with their loved ones without having to worry about stretching the family budget.

“Friday Night at the Movies was created to bring people downtown and encourage them to frequent our downtown shops and restaurants, but the movie nights have always been something more than that. By keeping almost every aspect of our movies completely free of charge, even down to the popcorn through the generous sponsorships from local businesses and citizens alike, the Friday Night at the Movies in Downtown La Porte is a way to give back to our community and a way to say ‘thank you’ for supporting La Porte,” Cutler said.

Frozen, a popular Disney movie, was chosen for viewing as a result of several hundred requests made by moviegoers last years.

“Even though I am not a little kid anymore, I love Frozen. I love hearing and seeing all of the little children sing along with the movie,” moviegoer Brooke Baima said. “Movies bring people together, and it is great that La Porte has something like this that does that.”

Before the film began, Hoosier Star singers Grace Tarnow and Shania Povlock performed a live duet of Frozen’s famous song, “Let it Go.”

Tarnow said, “People are out here to have a good time so I love that I can contribute their experience. I am used to singing on a stage in a theatre and while performing for Hoosier Star, so I love that this is something different. Singing at more Downtown Movie Nights is in my future.”

Once it was dark enough, families settled down in their chairs and on their blankets for a “chilling” night of Frozen.

“ I love seeing the people in downtown with smiles on their faces, making great memories that will last a lifetime,” Milo said.

The next Downtown Movie Night will feature Wreck-It-Ralph, and is scheduled for August 7.

“We are hoping this year to carry this summer tradition into the winter months by having the movie nights indoors at the La Porte Civic Auditorium,” Cutler said.

The 2015 season of Downtown La Porte Friday Night at the Movies was made possible by generous contributions from sponsors including NIPSCO, Anytime Fitness, Qubit Networks, Allstate Insurance, LaPorteCountyLife.com, Meridian Title Corporation, General Insurance Services, Inc., Roxy Music, Packaging Logic, Inc., Suds on State, The La Porte Savings Bank and The La Porte County Herald Argus.

Be sure to check out the next Downtown La Porte Friday Night at the Movies coming soon!