On Friday night Andrea and I packed up our lawn chairs and a sleeping bag and headed for Memorial Square in front of City Hall to take in a movie. It was part of the Cinema4Change tour which is going across the province this month, showing family-friendly movies for free outdoors, on a big inflatable screen. Sponsored by SGI, SaskTel, and the Credit Union, the Business Improvement District did their usual good job of organizing the event.
Although there were a couple of downpours in the late afternoon and early evening, by eight p.m. the sky had mostly cleared. By nine-fifteen people with lawn chairs and blankets were starting to settle in, and the movie, Horton Hears a Who, started about nine-thirty.
It was fun. The BID had a concession set up across the street, with hot dogs, popcorn, licorice, and drinks available for quite affordable prices. When was the last time you were at a movie and two popcorn and licorice only set you back $1.50? We don't go out to the movies much anymore - it's pricy just to get in, snack prices are ridiculous, and people talk during the movie, either to each other or on cell phones, which we find really annoying. But this crowd was quiet and polite, even though about half were children, so there were no distractions.
Maybe eighty people were there, many of them families, and all were enjoying themselves at this different kind of event. People even applauded at the end, which doesn't usually happen after a movie. It reminded me a bit of going to the drive-in as a kid - a relaxed family evening. If the weather hadn't been so iffy earlier, I'm sure the crowd would have been larger.
One of the ongoing concerns in Prince Albert is the need to revitalize the downtown. Along with that is the common perception that the downtown area is dangerous. What this event, and events like the Downtown Street Fair illustrate, is that when there are lots of people downtown, even at night, it isn't dangerous or scary at all. If we want a revitalized downtown, which is a sign of a healthy city, we need to encourage, support and attend events like this one. It didn't require millions of dollars, and it was accessible to everyone.
I'm hoping there will be more outdoor movies in Memorial Square, and when there are, I intend to be there.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mohandas Gandhi