Illustration by Mike Cagle


For 21 years, families, friends, and neighbors have been gathering to enjoy recent releases and classic films as part of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department Movies in the Parks program. 

“Part of the reason for the series is to get people in the parks more, but the main goal is to provide free opportunities for the community to come together,” says Crystal Ritter, parks department community events coordinator.  

This year, the series, put on in collaboration with The Ryder Magazine and Film Series, is showing more recent movies than in the past, Ritter says. 

Selections are made by the public on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page. Ritter and a Ryder representative initially selected 11 PG and PG-13 films, including some animated films that would appeal to children and other films that would appeal to teens, college students, and adults. The public 

then voted, selecting the six films shown in the series.  

Ritter says each movie night attracts between 200 and 300 people to watch the featured film on an inflatable 10-foot-by-7-foot screen, although last October’s showing of Hocus Pocus attracted 1,000 people.  

There are three movies remaining in this year’s film series. They are: 

 Black Panther (PG-13) on August 17 at 8:40 p.m. in Rev. Ernest D. Butler Park.

Coco (PG)—celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month—on September 20 at 8 p.m. at Bryan Park.

Beetlejuice (PG) on October 4 at 7:40 p.m. at Bryan Park.

If a movie is cancelled due to weather, it will be shown October 5. Another rain date will be added if necessary. 

People are encouraged to come at least 30 minutes before showtime but can arrive earlier to enjoy picnics and family games. Ritter suggests bringing chairs, blankets, and bug spray, but not alcohol or grills.

For up-to-the-minute information on weather-related cancellations, call 812-349-3754.