If you’re worried that the only sky your kids see anymore is the one in the background of an Angry Birds game on their iPads, then scrape them off the couch and go bowling with the Friends of Kingston Parks and Recreation.
The group wants to roll to raise money for Movies Under the Stars — an effort to purchase a professional grade sound, screen and film projection equipment toward a free eight-week Friday night summer movie series to rotate through the eight Kingston parks beginning, it is hoped, this summer. The fundraiser will be next Saturday, Feb. 25, Ferraro’s MidCity Lanes will host an all-you-can-bowl day. Twenty bucks will get you nonstop bowling, and that includes shoe rental.
Friends of Kingston Parks and Recreation, a 501(c)(3) established to raise funds for park programming, is looking to gather approximately $17,000 to purchase the equipment and the rights to exhibit eight movies. According to group member Jen Fuentes, the equipment will be donated to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department so that community partners or the city itself can use the equipment for any number of events.
According to Fuentes, the idea is to reacquaint residents with their city’s parks while building and strengthening community within a wholesome family venue. The group has been raising money through raffles and bake sales and asking for help from local sponsors; thus far, nearly $3,000 has been collected, including the most recent $1,000 from the Lions Club Foundation. “There’s a lot of good will,” said Fuentes. “People are very excited about bringing people out to the parks and doing community events. Some people are very excited about balancing the old and new Kingston. Forward-thinking, hip communities do this — movies in the park and festivals. There’s also a lot of people here their entire lives and they think back to the time when we held movies, and have fond memories of going down to Rotary Park and watching Titanic.”
Recreation Department head Kevin Gilfeather said that this will not beKingston’s first foray into cinema. In the late ’90s, $8,000 was usually budgeted annually for the rental of projector equipment and movies, at $1000 per movie. Gilfeather even recalled an Uptown Martian Film Festival. Both Gilfeather and Fuentes feel that the purchase will amount to a community asset with an array of program possibilities, including use for the summer camp and even a revival of the former outdoor park family event, Kingston Night Out.
“One hope is that people will visit parks that they don’t normally visit,” said Fuentes. “We have so many parks to showcase our movies.”
The movie series will ideally rotate through all the Kingston parks, for which Fuentes and Gilfeather are both hopeful will foster a sense of stewardship between residents and their local parks.