NORTH CANTON The North Canton Public Library’s first Family Film Friday event of summer 2018 had a few factors working against it on June 8. First, the weather was a little more unpredictable than usual and second the Cleveland Cavaliers were playing in the do-or-die Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
The opportunity of watching an outdoor movie with the family prevailed and the event drew its typical attendance of between 300-500 people. The event, in its sixth year, started at Bitzer Park and moved four years ago to the larger Witwer Park. It’s held the second Friday of the month in June, July and August.
While the library provides the movie screen and audio equipment and free cotton candy, Family Film Fridays is supported by a number of community members including Home Savings Bank, which purchases the license for the movie every month and provides free popcorn. There are four area churches - First Friends, MissionView, New Pointe and The Summit - which get involved by providing free food, games and a family fun zone.
The upcoming film schedule includes: July 13 "Coco" and August 10 "Paddington 2." Movies start at dusk, but attendees are encouraged to come at 7 p.m. to enjoy the games and food.
"It’s really important to us that every attendee has the same experience, and with the help of our partners, every element of the film events is free," said North Canton Public Library Community Relations Manager Christina Weyrick.
Outreach Services Manager Keri Burick said there are several factors that help draw people to the movie nights.
"The free entertainment is a huge draw and we make sure everything is free," Burick said. "The North Canton Public Library likes to provide traditional fun that people may not experience or find anywhere else. The Film Fridays are good old fashioned fun nights out with the family."
Kelly Hansen, the director of ministry at MissionView Church in North Canton, said members meet for Sunday worship at Hoover High School and its offices are in the Hoover District building. The church has been sponsoring the Film Fridays for the past four years. Hansen said Pastor Steve Marshall, who passed away in March, wanted to get the church more involved in the community.
"Pastor Marshall met the leadership team from the library and asked them how the church could help the community and they suggested looking at the outdoor film events," Hansen said. "He came back to talk with the church staff and said we have to get involved and help with the event. It has encouraged three more churches to help out as well."
This year, the four churches were able to provide inflatables, a magician, face painting, lawn games as well as free hot dogs. Plus, volunteers from the churches help out at the event. Volunteers from the Malone University’s zoo degree program also brought several of their reptiles and animals for the kids to see and touch.
The rain held off and the Cavs lost but the first of the season Family Film Friday was a huge success.