Within 30 hours, the newly created Bartlett Movies in the Park page had more than 1,100 likes.
“It’s very encouraging,” said Jason Sykes, sub-committee chairman of the Bartlett Station Commission that is hosting a series of outdoor family-centric movies this spring.
“We floated it as an idea to (the City of Bartlett) as a way to showcase our area, and they were all for it,” Sykes said of the project. “It’s something new and fresh for the city.”
The group, which helps promote the historic area commonly called “Downtown Bartlett,” hopes that the movies will help bring more people to the area who will patronize local businesses. When developing ideas, the commission members — chairman Justin Emmons, vice-chairman Brooks McDonald, marketing director Melissa Pike and Sykes — realized that the area lacked outdoor venues in which people could be involved.
“This is a chance for people to get out and meet their neighbors and get out in the night,” Sykes said.
The group will host three movie nights at W.J. Freeman Park this spring: two in May and one in June. It will be sponsored by several local businesses, including The Bartlett Express. The leading role sponsors are the Nationwide Insurance offices operated by Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald and Brooks McDonald.
A 33-foot, inflatable movie screen and professional sound equipment will be provided by Fun Flicks. Because of the help from sponsors, the group will offer the movies free of charge and without using any city funds.
Sykes said these first movie nights are a bit of a test to see how well they do. He said the group is not only testing the idea itself, but the time of the year and some of the other details, too.
Because the group is not charging for the event and no tickets are required, Sykes said he does not know how many people will show up.
“We’ve set it up in one of the most broad, open areas (of the park),” he said. “But if thousands of people show up, we would cap off somewhere. If we move forward with more events, it might be something we have to adjust.”
Still, Sykes said the ability to create a fun, kid-friendly event is something the city should be proud of.
“I can just see me and my family, my kids and nieces, out there together, watching the movies and just having a good time,” he said.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Bartlett Movies in the Park
WHEN: 8 p.m. Fridays, May 17 (featuring “Night at the Museum”), May 24 (featuring “Horton Hears a Who”) and June 7 (featuring a movie chosen by Facebook poll)
WHERE: W.J. Feeman Park
BRING: Lawn chairs, blankets, picnic items and bug spray. Alcohol is not permitted in the park.