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Free Family Movie Nights draw hundreds to Hart Park

Posted: August 21, 2014 1:38 p.m.
Updated: August 21, 2014 1:38 p.m.

About 400 people sit in folding chairs and on blankets as they wait for the beginning of "The Nut Job" during William S. Hart Park's Free Family Movie Nights event. Signal photo by Dan Watson

Family night at the cinema is practically an American tradition, but when the movie is shown on a big inflatable screen set up on the grass of a tree-covered park, the experience takes on a whole new dimension.

“Don’t get me wrong, movie theaters are great, but being outdoors with nature, feeling the breeze, hearing the trees rustling — it’s something that people who live in the city don’t often get,” said Eric Reefman, a recreation supervisor at William S. Hart Park in Newhall, which has hosted Free Family Movie Nights every other Friday this summer.

Now in its third year, the program draws hundreds of people, mainly families who bring picnic baskets, blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy a night under the stars and a movie.

Volunteers from Friends of Hart Park and Museum provide the program free of charge, so no taxpayer money is used on the event, Reefman said.
On Aug. 8 about 400 people showed up to watch “The Nut Job” under a nearly full moon. Dozens of families arrived early to stake out seats near the screen, including Martha Lujan and her two children, Melanie and Valentin.

“It’s very nice that they do this for the community,” Lujan said as her two kids ran around the park playing with other children.




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