Flushing Movies in the Park releases summer schedule

FLUSHING — As numerous festivals and special events face cancellation this summer, one local gathering is slated to resume as planned: Flushing Movies in the Park.

Starting June 27, Movies in the Park will return for its 24th season at the Riverview Park Bandshell in Flushing. Free movies will be shown every other Saturday evening throughout the summer and will include low-cost concessions provided by the Thomas Smith Memorial Foundation’s Teen Canteen.

This season’s movie line-up will feature “Frozen II” on June 27; “Jumanji: The Next Level” on July 11; “The Secret Life of Pets 2” on July 25; “The Lion King” on Aug. 8; and “Toy Story 4” on Aug. 22.

“This year’s line-up is full of some of the best and newest releases we are able to get,” said Danielle Smith, chairperson for Movies in the Park. “We gear our movies towards being family-friendly and great for all ages young and old.”

Like many other summer events, Movies in the Park was initially cancelled due to coronavirus concerns and the resulting economic strain on local businesses that support the series each year. In response, Flushing Mayor Joseph Karlichek and Councilman Edward Sullivan reached out to Smith to inquire about the cost of running the movies and spoke with several local business owners who were interested in saving the movie season.

That’s when Dale Harris, owner of Skip’s Comeback Inn in downtown Flushing, stepped up to cover the cost of all five movie nights.

“When I found out that the movies had been cancelled, I thought ‘why not just write a check to cover the whole season,’” Harris said. “With youth baseball cancelled and Flushing Summer Fest postponed, there’s just no other place for the kids to go this summer. This a great activity for kids to do outside the house, and it gets their families out to the park.”

With COVID-19 continuing to be a concern, Smith said that all precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of moviegoers. Families who bring their own blankets or chairs to relax in the grassy area will be instructed to keep safe distances from each other, and volunteers will be sanitizing the bandshell seating area before and after each movie.

“We encourage families to come out, as this is an outdoor event, which is much needed after recent quarantine events that have kept many people cooped up indoors,” Smith said. “Also, we encourage everyone to visit the Teen Canteen and help support the Thomas Smith Memorial Foundation, as all funds raised in the Canteen goes back to their organization.”

Volunteers are also needed to help with set up and tear down for the five movie nights. Those interested in helping can contact Danielle Smith at nonni13@aol.com.

For info on possible movie night cancellations and/or make-up dates, visit the Flushing Movies in the Park Facebook page.