By Anthony Clark Jr.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines allow fully vaccinated individuals to resume pre-pandemic activities without restrictions, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will resume the free annual “Movies in the Park” series.
“Friends (of Grand Rapids Parks) is ecstatic to be able to safely bring the Movies in the Park event series back to Grand Rapids’ neighborhood parks,” said marketing manager Kinsey Schopp. “Parks and green spaces are for all, and we hope that the Movies series helps the community feel a connection to these spaces and each other.”
The series was canceled in 2020 due to the social distancing protocols implemented to help flatten the curve of positive cases. With the 70% marker for herd immunity inching closer each day, people are returning to pre-pandemic activities.
Community partners will be providing yard games, music, and other recreational activities and entertainment for all ages.
Schopp also noted the objective of events like this are to bring the community together while venturing the city of Grand Rapids.
“One of Friends’ core values is to look at every project through a JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) lens,” Schopp said. “This means creating pathways for all community members to explore the outdoors, planting trees in neighborhoods with the lowest canopy cover, and hosting free, family-friendly park events – such as Movies (in the Park) – in every ward of the city.”
These activities will begin at 7 p.m. each night and will be followed by the scheduled movie at dusk. The series schedule and designated parks are as follows:
June 18: Martin Luther King Park – “Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse”
July 17: Sullivan Field – “A League of Their Own”
July 31: Roosevelt Park – “Moana”
Aug. 7: Plaster Creek Family Park – “Raya and the Last Dragon”
Aug. 21: Highland Park – “Wonder Woman: 1984”
Can’t make these specific dates? You’re in luck, as the city of East Grand Rapids will also be hosting a movies in the park series, all designated in John Collins Park.
July 9: “Moana”
July 16: “Sing”
Aug. 20: “Aladdin” (2019)
Aug. 27: “Raya and the Last Dragon”
Leisure Supervisor Rachel Fiedler commented on how fortunate the community is to have the event return after the unprecedented events in 2020.
“We’re incredibly thankful for our sponsors… who have made it possible for us to host these community-favorite events year after year,” Fiedler said. “After all the challenges we’ve faced since spring 2020, being able to safely enjoy time with loved ones out of the house is a gift.”