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Summertime marks the beginning of blockbuster season, where moviegoers cram themselves into sticky-floored theaters for $7.50 just to watch a movie on the big screen. However, this summer, the Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater is offering a different kind of cinematic experience, one that brings nostalgic classics outside and on the lawn.
Set at the downtown Watergardens outside the Art Museum of South Texas, the Ride-In Theater is a free, monthly, nonprofit family event organized by members of local businesses. “We wanted to promote a healthy living style among young professionals,” said Karol Stewart, Chair of the Ride-In Theater Board of Directors.
Attendees are encouraged to ride their bikes or take public transportation to get to the site. At 6:45 pm, the food trucks will open, vending anything from tacos to barbeque to kettle corn. Corpus Christi Liquour will even have a mobile bar serving up alcoholic refreshments such as wine and beer. If the food trucks don’t suit your fancy, Stewart says people are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets and blankets and lay them out on the lawn.
After attendees fill themselves up with grub, they’re invited to participate in pre-show activities and games. Oftentimes, these are themed around the featured movie of the night. Alas, the feature itself begins at 9 pm and is projected onto the American Bank Center.
The lineup is an eclectic mix of musicals (Grease 2 and Cry-Baby are the June and July features, respectively) to sports (A League of Their Own and Mighty Ducks are August and September) and even horror in their October feature, Poltergeist. And although most of these films seem to reside on the Generation X side of 80s/90s nostalgia, Stewart says the whole family is invited, “This is a great time for everyone of all ages.”
The sponsors of the Ride-In Theater are decidedly local, “We want people to come down, enjoy the shoreline and support local businesses,” Stewart said.
Downtown CrossFit and the Law Offices of Ruben Bonilla sponsor all the screenings. Chuy’s restaurant (a relative newcomer to the Coastal Bend) is sponsoring Grease 2 and Cry-Baby while the Port of Corpus Christi will sponsor the August, September, and October features. Still as a 501c nonprofit organization, the Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater relies on donations and volunteers. “We’re always looking for creative types willing to help us out,” promotes Steward.
Sounds like popcorn has a new home.