Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Sitting on a blanket, with a bag of popcorn and a beverage in tow, to take in free outdoor movies on jumbo screens in popular parks, or pools, is a rite of summer in Oak Park, Forest Park, Riverside and Brookfield.

In those places, it seems, seeing an outdoor flick on a humongous movie screen is the right thing to do this summer.

Oak Park is kicking off its Family Movies in the Park series at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 19 with a “flick and float” at Rehm Pool, 515 Garfield Street at East Avenue. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 70s family classic is what those evening swimmers will see. Cost at the door is $4 for pool pass holders, and $9 for others. The movie will start at dusk, with games in the park from 7 – 8 p.m.

Next, the “sit-in movie” will shift to Taylor Park, 400 W. Division, on Wednesday, August 14 with a 7 p.m. screening of ET, The Extra Terrestrial. The series will wrap up at Scoville Park, 800 W. Lake Street, on Friday, September 20, with Hocus Pocus.

Down the street Classic Cinema’s Lake Theater, 1022 W. Lake Street, again this year will be its “Wednesday Morning Movie Series”, running from June 12 to August 7. This Series features only show G and PG rated films, and the cost is $1 per person.

Or anyone can join its “First Tuesday Film Club. Geared to movie buffs who are interested in art, foreign and documentary films. The “club” meets at noon and 7 p.m.; admission is $6 during the day, and $8.50, post matinee. On cue there is Gatekeepers, on June 4; Someone To Love, July 22; and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, August 6. For additional details on both of these events, link to

The Forest Park Movies in the Park series is presented on the front lawn at 7051 Harrison Street. It runs monthly from the end of May through the middle of August with flicks for all ages: Dark Knight Rises (PG-13) is set for May 31; followed by ParaNorman (PG) on June 21; Brave (PG) on July 19, The Avengers (PG-13) on August 9, and culminating with Jurassic Park (PG-13) on August 23.

In their popular pool will be two “Flick and Float” movie nights. The first one, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, is set for Wednesday, July 17. Ice age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs will be shown on Wednesday, August 14, says Stacey Lafortune, Superintendent of Recreation in Forest Park.

“Our movie series is a great way to bring out the community. Tons of families come out, they bring their own blankets, and we offer free popcorn, which we pass out,” said Lafortune. “So, this is a really good event to bring family out together for a night out at the park.”

Down the road in Brookfield and Riverside, Movies in the Park will be ready to go soon.

Although the titles of the movies are in flux, in Brookfield, a free movie will be shown at Kiwanis Park, 8620 Brookfield Avenue, on Friday, June 14 and Friday, August 16. Movies will begin at dusk, or between 7:30 – 8 p.m.

“In Riverside, we have our Movie in the Park Date, Thursday, August 1, but we do not have our movie picked out,” says Teresa Michalik, Program Coordinator, Riverside Parks & Recreation. “We will do it themed like last year where we have activities that tie in.”

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Deb Quantock McCarey

Deb Quantock McCarey is an Illinois Press Association (IPA) award-winning freelance writer who has worked with Wednesday Journal Inc. since 1995, writing features and special sections for all its publications....