July 25, 2017
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Lots of local spots to catch a free movie

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
July 14, 2017

Kids in Rohnert Park and Cotati have a lot of opportunities to catch a movie for free this summer, thanks to a variety of local organizations that are working to give families a financial break while providing some fun. Not only are the shows free (or very low cost), but they are also a great chance for families to see a show in a child-friendly environment without having to worry about disturbing other movie-goers in a quiet theatre.

The City of Cotati is holding their “Summer Movies in the Park” series, an event that started years ago by a local real estate couple with Caldwell Banker. Although the pair no longer hosts the event, they still allow the City of Cotati to use their equipment to keep the shows going on. 

On July 14 Cotati will be showing “Moana” in La Plaza Park, and on August 1, coinciding with National Night Out, “The LEGO Batman Movie.” The free shows start approximately 15 minutes after sunset, usually around 8:45pm. 

“The movie series is part of our vision in promoting community engagement,” says Ashley Wilson, Recreation Coordinator for the City of Cotati. “So far they’ve been very popular. We had around 250 people show up for the event in June.”

Like last year, popcorn and water can be purchased at the park, and this year they will be adding sales of glow sticks, soft pretzels, and other snacks. Families are also allowed to bring their own beverages and snacks.

“We are also adding two bounce houses from 6-8 p.m. at July’s movie night,” says Wilson.  “And on August 1, the movie night will coincide with National Night Out, an event to promote community relations with the police department. Prior to the movie we’ll have a barbeque, lawn games, and a giant slide, and it will be a free event for families.”

On July 22, The Green Music Center is once again hosting “Free Movies on the Green” on Weill Lawn, playing both Disney’s 1989, “The Little Mermaid” and “Moana.” 

“We really wanted to do this to reach out to the community,” says Jana Duncan, Marketing Street Team Member for the Green Music Center. “We wanted to give families a chance to come and enjoy our facility.”

On August 26, the movie night will show a double feature of Disney’s 1991 animated version of “Beauty and the Beast,” followed by the 2017 live action “Beauty and the Beast.” The shows start at 5:00. On September 17 at 3:00, the Green Music Center will screen Disney’s newest hit, “Cars 3.”

The Rohnert Park Regional Library is also offering a summer cinema series, which kicked off on July 1. 

On the evening of August 2 the library will host a “movie sing-a-long” for free, showing “The Sound of Music.” Participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite character and sing along with Maria and the Von Trapp family during this favorite family musical. Snacks will be provided.

Lastly, from June through August 10, Reading Cinemas in Rohnert Park is offering a kids summer movie series, as they have for the past three years. The program, dubbed “Reel Kids” shows select movies every Wednesday and Thursday morning at 10:00 for only $1. Upcoming shows include “Sing” on July 12 and 13, “Kung Fu Panda” on July 19 and 20, “The Lego Batman Movie” on July 26 and 27, “The Peanuts Movie” on August 2 and 3, and “Minions” on August 9 and 10.

“Our Reel Kids movie series are really popular because it’s a great way for families to see a movie in a better environment for children,” says Andrea Valencia, Manager at Reading Cinemas in Rohnert Park. “Since people are aware this is meant for children, they’re more accommodating to kids talking or making noise in the movie theatre, then they would be if they are paying full price for a premiere movie. It makes it easier for parents to bring in kids.”

Most years the theatre also offers special concession bargains as part of the Reel Kids series, and this year is no exception. Children can get a “kids’ combo” – a child sized popcorn, drink and candy – for half the regular price.