To help kick off the summer, Valparaiso Events hosted its first movie night on Tuesday night. “Ratatouille” was shown in Central Park Plaza with around 600 people attending the movie night. It was the first in a series of four movies each Tuesday night in June.
“It's a kick off to summer events where everybody's excited to get downtown and see what's going on," said Jessica Fox, event coordinator at Valparaiso Events. “This is a great opportunity for families because schools are out. It's just a great way to kick off summer and get downtown."
Accompanying the movie were vendors on Lafayette Street offering free face painting, ice cream, and chef hats. Valparaiso Baptist Church also provided free popcorn to express their love for their city and give back.
“Our church loves this community, and we love the city of Valparaiso,” said Pastor Mitchell Tabla. “Our mission statement states that we are a church with a heart, and one of our three facets is to have a heart for the community. We're out here just to serve the community and show some love.”
It is the Valparaiso Baptist Church’s second year giving out popcorn at the Valparaiso Event’s Summer Outdoor Movies.
“I think community partnership is essential, and the church is a great place to be able to serve the community,” said Tabla. “We're just honored to be here, and we look forward to hopefully partnering again next year.”
Several of the event’s sponsors also had booths set up like platinum sponsor, Valparaiso University.
“We are so excited to be partnered with the city,” said Jill Schur, vice president of enrollment and marketing at Valparaiso University. “We believe that the community is a part of our success. We want to be partners in everything that's going on, and this is such a fun event for families and for the city, so we're glad to be here to help support it."
Another sponsor of this movie night in attendance was Associated Pediatricians.
"Community involvement is incredibly important to Associated Pediatricians," Practice Manager, Dana Gibson said. It brings true measurable change to the community and the organizations that provide so many opportunities for our patients and their families. Our involvement also provides team building employee engagement for our organization. It’s a win-win! We value our partnerships with these organizations and are honored to be part of strengthening the community with our continued involvement."
To accentuate the event being for the community, the movies, including “Ratatouille” were selected by the community itself. There was a poll on Valparaiso Events’ social media where these four movies were elected.
“We did a poll on our Instagram where we asked the community and like our followers, so the community does get involved with helping us choose the movies,” said Fox. “We did a poll of about eight to 10 movies, and then we let the community decide the four movies.”
The event was like a free drive-in movie with vendors.
“It is a great opportunity to be out under the stars,” said Fox. “You're out in the park with a bunch of other people, and it's just a really great opportunity to be with the community.”
Valparaiso Events has three more Tuesday nights of movies in its Summer Outdoor Movies series. On June 13 it will be “Mary Poppins Returns,” and “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” on June 20. The last movie will be “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” on June 27. For more information visit Valparaiso Events’ website at the link here.