Movies in the park back in Virginia

A crowd gathers at last year's Movies in the Park. This summer, movies and live music will rotate on Tuesday evenings at Virginia's Olcott Park, beginning with music from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight near the fountain.

VIRGINIA — While many community activities were canceled this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be events held at Olcott Park — starting today — for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Movies at the park are back.

And new music nights, held at the fountain, are beginning.

The business- and community-sponsored “Movies & Music at the Park,” coordinated by the Virginia Parks and Recreation Department, will offer much-sought-after summertime entertainment, said Brian Silber, parks and recreation director.

Tuesday nights will revolve between live local music held from 6 to 9 p.m. and movies, which will begin at dusk.

Today’s musical line up features Rich Mattson and The Northstars and the Christopher David Hanson Band. The Street Tacos and Eats food truck will be on-site.

The following week, on July 7, “Jumanji: The Next Level,” will be shown on the city’s large, inflatable screen.

Movie nights, also head by the renovated fountain, were popular last year, drawing roughly 100 people each evening, Silber said.

This year, the parks commission decided to add live music because The 218, which held well-attended, family friendly street shows in downtown Virginia the past several years, lost its venue.

It’s a way to “keep the music going in the community,” said Carly Gobats, owner of The 218 brand and a Virginia Parks and Recreation commissioner.

Attendees are encouraged to practice social distancing during the music and movie nights and to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets.

“We are lucky to have a big park” in the heart of Virginia, which allows the opportunity for people to spread out and stay safe during the virus epidemic, Silber said.

Miners Memorial Building in Virginia will be the inclement weather site.

Attendees can also bring their own coolers, Silber said.

If the music nights are successful, they will return next summer, with nonprofit organizations possibly setting up refreshment booths as fundraisers, he added.

Food trucks are planned for each of the music nights, Gobats said.

All of the musical groups scheduled this summer have played previously at the street shows, she said.

Colleen Myhre and Big Waves and Bonfires will perform July 14; Horse Fzce and Dionysian Dithyramb on July 28, Woodland and The Slamming Doors on Aug. 11, and Hobo Revival and Brothers Burn Mountain on Aug. 25.

The community voted during the winter for the movies to be shown, Silber said.

“Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” is set for July 21, and “Frozen 2” on Aug. 18.

Silber added that he is “so proud of the people of Virginia” for adjusting to cancellations during the pandemic.

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