Movies in the Park provide reel fun for families and others

Allowing residents to watch the stars under the stars has been successful this summer for the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. And two more dates remain for the free Movies in the Park series that has focused mostly on the Marvel Avenger series.

One showing will be at dusk Saturday, figuring to be about 8:45 p.m., when “Avengers: Infinity War” will be presented near the amphitheater of Mill Race Park on Fifth Street in downtown Columbus.

According to online summaries, the flick highlights Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers “uniting to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality.”

The series that began in May has averaged 200 people attending, which organizers consider a solid number for such an event. Many have been families with elementary school-age children, according to Jacob Hendricks, who oversees the program for the parks department. A decent number of young adults also have attended.

“They’re big fans of the Avenger series too,” he said.

Some child viewers even have come wearing Avengers t-shirts and other related apparel.

“We’ve been really happy overall with it,” Hendricks said. “And it’s been a lot of fun.”

Hendricks said one element of the series that has occasionally boosted attendance has occurred while organizers are setting up the 26-foot-wide inflatable screen with a sound system made for a crowd as large as 1,000 people.

“People have asked just what it is we’re doing, and some of the time, they will end up staying and watching — and loving the idea of a free movie,” Hendricks said.

Free popcorn also is included. Organizers have been careful about paying close attention to weather forecasts since the equipment the parks department purchased for the gatherings cannot get wet.

September’s scheduled showing will depart from the Avengers series with a presentation of the classic baseball film “Field of Dreams” at two of the Lincoln Park baseball diamonds — one for the movie and one for viewers to enjoy a little leisurely pitch and catch alongside the movie.