On a picture-perfect Friday evening, Salinians converged on Mill Pond Park for the first of three movies in the park scheduled for this summer. Perhaps because of the popularity of the movie, “Frozen,” or maybe because of the weather the turnout was amazing.
Parks and Recreation Director Carla Scruggs guessed there were at least 600 people in attendance for the movie, which started around 9:30 p.m. But many more, especially families with very young children, arrived earlier and left before the movie started.
People began arriving very early to enjoy the park and the play structure. At 6:30 various games and activities began. Many children queued up to go through the inflatable obstacle course or to jump in the Bounce House. Others played volleyball with a beach ball, received free snowflake tattoos, played beanbag toss and participated in other games.
The Saline Fire Department had a truck on site as did the police department and the Huron Valley ambulance. Fire fighters, officers, and paramedics showed the kids some of what goes on inside these vehicles.
When the movie finally began, a half moon was overhead and stars were beginning to appear. Many children sang along with the songs, seemingly very familiar with the lyrics. There were flickers of light among the crowd from children’s glow rings and parents’ cell phones.
But the work to make this event happen began much earlier. Sunshine Lambert, Recreational Director for Saline Parks and Recreation has been overseeing these events for at least 12 years. She and her coworkers do advance promotion, coordinate refreshments with Kiwanis, organize volunteers and get the movies and equipment lined up.
“It takes a lot of staff to get these inflatables up,” Lambert said. “It’s an all day production. A lot of the staff were in at 8:00 in the morning and we’re running from the get go on the day of the event.”
The inflatables are owned by Parks and Recreation, having been purchased through a grant from CARES. The inflatable screen was also purchased by CARES.
The workers at the event were Parks and Recreation staff, Summer Day Camp staff and other volunteers.
"That’s Saline, Lambert said. “We rely so much on volunteers and they’re there; they’re ready to help.”
The next movies in the park will be held on July 25 and August 22. There will be some different activities each time. The July movie will be “Despicable Me 2” and the August show will be “The Lego Movie.”