Families arrived with lawn chairs, blankets and snacks at David Street Station Friday evening to watch a movie on the downtown plaza’s big screen. Children ran around an open space of turf at the front of the plaza and through the splash pad.
Delia Colon, 13, lay a blanket near the first bench tier along with a giant plush caterpillar and two more stuffed animals she’d later use for pillows.
“That’s perfect,” she said as her parents and other family members set up lawn chairs and more blankets.
The family-friendly movies about every other Friday during the summer are part of numerous summer events at David Street Station, including concerts, festivals and game nights along with fitness classes that were added this year, Downtown Development Authority CEO Kevin Hawley explained. Friday’s was the last movie for the season, though some other events will continue into fall and the holidays.
“It’s just true to our mission of David Street Station, always have something going on that’s free and fun for the community.”
Delia’s family often visits the splash pad and goes to events at David Street Station since they moved to town about a year and a half ago from South Dakota, said her mother, Wendy Harty. Friday was their first time trying the movie nights and they hope go to more next year.
“I think it’s just a different experience being outside, like a drive-in movie,” Harty said after the film. “It gives you a little community experience that you don’t get. It’s kind of a no-brainer, because it’s free.”
As the animated film “Hotel Transylvania” began, the family settled in with ice cream cones from the I’Scream 4 Ice Cream truck. Delia rested her head against the stuffed animals and watched while the sun set. Though it was her first time at Cinema at the Station, she was no novice after many outdoor movie nights in Sioux Falls where she used to live.
“Usually, I just want to be comfortable. Like in movie theaters, there’s always like chairs or something. But out here, you can just bring anything you would like — toys, stuffed animals, blankets, stuff to do.”
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The movies nights were similar in Sioux Falls, although they were projected and had to be screened when it was darker, Harty said. David Street Station’s screen can be used any time of day and once again this season shows the University of Wyoming away games. The movie nights draw can as many as 800 people, with about 500 on a typical night. The plaza’s events are free thanks to sponsors like Memorial Hospital of Converse County, which this year became the Cinema at the Station sponsor and offers snacks and other freebies during the movies, Hawley said.
Harty and Delia curled up together under a blanket during a short rain sprinkle. Delia later danced in place to the closing credits music and laughed with her family as her sister, Naomi Colon, moved her six-month-old daughter’s hands to the beat.
Later, Delia joined more kids running through the splash pad. Jack and Sjannicq Daniels watched their two 5-year-old nieces among them. Jack works at his parents’ ice cream truck during movie nights, which give Sjannicq a chance to relax in the evening sun while the two cousins watch the movie or meet other kids to play with, she said.
“It’s got some pretty nice landscaping, so the scenery around you is nice, and feeling safe with all the kids, that they’re all together.”
The movie night was a chance for Delia to see a good movie she hadn’t seen in a while. But that wasn’t the only entertainment.
“It keeps people entertained when the little ones are just jumping around.”
She described the evening as “amazing.”
“And it was so much fun just getting outside and seeing everybody be here.”