Lawn chairs and blankets were scattered in a downtown parking lot Friday night. With a handful of popcorn and a snow cone too, San Angelo locals were ready to enjoy “Downtown Movie Night”.
“Eight years ago, when the economy started to tank, I came up with the Idea,” Rick Whitworth said of the free movie event he and his wife Kathie Whitworth started.
The two were able to gain support through the public radio station KCSA and Concho Christmas. The screen used to project movies is custom-made and the projector and sound system were built in-house. These supplies are used to screen movies to the public free of charge.
“It’s free and with a big amount of people like we have we probably wouldn’t be able to do this,” Jeanette Eagle said of why she and her friends chose to watch a movie downtown rather than at a movie theater.
For Bob and Rose Ryckewaert “Downtown Movie Night” has become tradition.
“We come nearly every Friday,” Rose Ryckewaert said.
The retired couple said the free event allows them to escape their busy lives and enjoy the cool summer nights of San Angelo.
Bob Ryckewaert also said, “It brings a lot of people and a lot of kids out of the streets, it keeps them out of trouble.”
Since the beginning of this season the Whitworths have counted over 8,000 people in attendance.
“It gives the people a place to come and be together; families meet out here, friends meet out here. Its a good place to get together,” said Kathie Whitworth.
“Downtown Movie Night” screens films at 9 p.m. on Friday nights. The season begins in early summer and ends the last week of September. There is no cost to attend. A concession stand is available to buy snacks. All sales from the concession are put toward licensing fees of the movie being shown. For more information check out downtownmovienight.com