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A & E

Communities host free outdoor films for families

DeKALB – Outdoor movies are a part of summer in DeKalb County.

Many local communities offer free outdoor movie events for families. Jen Bristow, Genoa Main Street executive director, said the community loves the opportunity to watch a movie under the stars – even teenagers.

Sycamore has hosted movies immediately following its Tuesdays on the Town events in downtown Sycamore, and the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce has been offering downtown movies for about six years.

"Ultimately our goal, originally and today still, was to get people to come downtown and make our downtown a gathering place," said Rose Treml, Sycamore Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Treml said about 300 people show up for each outdoor movie showing. She said most families who come out are young couples with their young children, and movies are geared toward elementary-age children.

"The parking lot we have literally gets full," Treml said. "People start staking out spots by 7 p.m. People bring coolers and popcorn and some families bring games to play until it is dark enough for the movie to start."

However, the success of the event really depends on Mother Nature.

"It always depends on the weather," Treml said. "But the last two we had, the weather was beautiful. If it gets cloudy we see fewer people come out."

Northern Illinois University is in on the outdoor movie experience as well, offering a show next month at Huskie Stadium. Visitors are welcome to bring blankets to sit on the turf and watch "Frozen," a movie that was chosen after voting by residents.

The DeKalb Park District also offers its own outdoor movies, Friday Movies in the Park. The movies are screened at Hopkins Park near the bandshell.

"I think [these events] are good for small towns," Bristow said. "People want to be able to do things downtown. It's part of the community they love and know."



July 18 in Hopkins Park – "Oz the Great and Powerful"

July 19 on Main Street – "Despicable Me"
Aug. 2 on Main Street – "The Lego Movie"
Aug. 16 on Main Street – "American Graffiti"

July 25 at the corner of Somonauk and Elm streets – "The Lego Movie"

Northern Illinois University
Aug. 1 at NIU Huskie Stadium – "Frozen"

All movies begin at dusk and admission is free.

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