parkCINEMA brings films outdoors for the holidays

F.E. Lykes Foundation and Tampa Theatre are collaborating to show holiday movies outdoors at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park: The Grinch (2018) on Nov. 23 and A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) on Nov. 30.

The two events are part of a continuing local effort to bring cinema to public parks and other locations in a series of free outdoor screenings called parkCINEMA. 
Norma Gene Lykes, President of the F.E. Lykes Foundation and a lifelong cinephile, sees watching movies together as a method to bridge differences by bringing diverse community members together in public places.

parkCINEMA first started in February of this year when Lykes found out that the Tampa Theatre had a large top-quality inflatable movie screen. This year, they have already had five screenings at three different parks: Julian B. Lane Riverfront, River Tower Park, and Al Lopez Park.
“My love for movies started when I was a kid. Every Saturday, I would go to the Tampa Theatre. When I found out that Tampa Theatre could do movies outdoors, it just seemed like a wonderful collaboration because our only focus at the L.E. Lykes Foundation is parks and things that happen in parks. It’s really a fun idea for us, to get people outside of the house for these free movies to take advantage of the climate this time of the year,” says Norma Gene Lykes. “It’s our privilege and pleasure to do this.”
parkCINEMA’s most recent screening was Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” at Water Works Park on Oct. 26, coinciding with the Friends of Tampa Recreations’ annual Trick or Treat event hosted by The Tampa Riverwalk. As a new perk, a limited number of free “dark parkCINEMA” T-shirts courtesy of the F.E. Lykes Foundation were given out during the event. Special T-shirts will also be offered for the two upcoming holiday screenings.
“These days, everyone wants to be in the house. We have such wonderful weather here, especially this time of the year, but getting people outside of the house can be difficult. This is why we are so excited to work with Tampa Theatre to bring people to different parks. The F.E. Lykes Foundation funded the splash pad and misting fountains by the river and at Curtis Hixon Park, so to now go back to this venue and show movies there is just fun. We feel lucky to be able to do something like this,” Lykes says.
Food trucks will already be present for coinciding holiday events at Curtis Hixon, but it’s suggested that movie-goers bring whatever they need to supplement their comfort like chairs, blankets, a cooler, and snacks.
To find out more about these upcoming events and showtimes, visit parkCINEMA online.

Read more articles by Caitlin Albritton.

Caitlin Albritton is a freelance writer based in Tampa with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. When she's not looking at art throughout town, she can be found making it. You can keep up with her visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on her website. Visit her recent line of inlay “wearable paintings.”
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