Houlton holds first-ever ‘Sunset Cinema’ event at Community Park

4 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — More than 100 people showed up at Houlton Community Park on Thursday, Aug. 21, where the baseball field had been converted into an outdoor movie theater, in order to see a screening of “Frozen II”, the sequel to the hit Disney film “Frozen.”.

It was all part of a special “Sunset Cinema” event,  which was organized by WHOU radio station and the Houlton Parks and Recreation Department. Many traditional movie theaters, such as Houlton’s Temple Cinema, remain closed to airing feature films.

The outdoor location for this movie event, which was free to the public thanks to local sponsors, allowed families to set up in a socially distanced manner, and masks and hand sanitizer were handed out to any who wished to have them. A small snack bar was also set up, which sold candy and popcorn to audience-goers. 

“We had the idea of doing an outdoor movie theater for last year, and we never got the chance to do it,” said Fred Grant, owner of WHOU. “With the closure of so much this year, we decided several months ago that it was something we really wanted to do.” 

After discussions with the Houlton Parks and Recreation Department, it was decided that Houlton Community Park would serve as the best location, with the backstop of the baseball park used to display the screen for airing the film. 

While many films have halted production or delayed their release date due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “Frozen II”, which was released in November 2019, was selected as a recently released film that drew commercial success and is popular with families. 

“We talked about maybe doing a drive-in type style,” said Marie Carmichael, director of the Parks and Recreation Department. “And then, the more and more we talked about it, we thought that this would be the better location, in using the ball field.”

The Sunset Cinema event will be held again Thursday, Aug. 27, in the same location, where the film will be “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” Sponsors for the event included Priority Auto Sales, Machias Savings Bank and Percy’s Auto Sales.