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HomeBusiness & CommunityCANCELED: The YMCA is hosting a free family movie night

CANCELED: The YMCA is hosting a free family movie night

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UPDATE: We were informed that this event will be rescheduled for another date.

In the wake of an unfortunate April rainout, The Hernando County YMCA and the Hernando Community Coalition (HCC) will now kick off the summer with a grand blast of sunshine. They are doing so in the form of the free family outdoor movie night taking place at 6 pm on Saturday, June 18, at Kennedy Park, 899 Kennedy Blvd. in Brooksville. The event will feature a screening of the animated feature “Space Jam: A New Legacy” with free popcorn, hot dogs and drinks provided. Families are welcome to bring in blankets or comfortable chairs for this event, with HCC imPACT youth and advisors in action to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable evening.

Branch Executive Director of the YMCA of the Suncoast-Hernando County, Amber Slusser, is excited to bring this family-friendly event to local audiences. She stated, “We are excited about this Family Fun Night opportunity for the South Brooksville community. Tresa (J. Watson, Executive Director of Hernando Community Coalition) and I had talked about it at one of our previous Family Fun Events and we circled back around to it as we both think it would be a great event to have for the teens and the families in Brooksville. The Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition and the Y have partnered for many years now and before COVID we co-hosted Friday Night Done Events that were a success for the middle school and high school students in the community. These free events provided an opportunity for teens to hang out, have fun, grab some food and have a positive event outlet to keep them from making choices that could lead to destructive behaviors.”

The featured movie, “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” is an animated comedy adventure featuring a cast of both classic animated characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, and human actors such as basketball great LeBron James and Don Cheadle. Centered around a basketball game that James and the Looney Tunes must win in order to free his kidnapped son. The big screen being used for family movie night will be provided by Jeff Price and Price Family Entertainment.

“HCCADC had hosted a ‘Friday Night Done Right Movie Night’ at Tom Varn Park a couple years back and it resulted in a large turnout so we thought this would be a great chance to do another one as we are kicking off summer,” said Slusser. “We planned this movie night in April but unfortunately the weather had other plans for us, so we decided to reschedule to ensure we were still offering family events.”

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This family outdoor movie night is particularly well-timed, as National Drive-In Movie Day was celebrated on June 6. National Drive-In Movie Day observes the date upon which America’s first drive-in movie theater was debuted in New Jersey by businessman Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. True to the family-friendly spirit, he created a small drive-in theater in his driveway for the enjoyment of his mother, one that projected images cast via a Kodak projector (placed on Hollingshead’s car) onto a sizable screen. He opened his inaugural patented drive-in theater in 1932. Florida witnessed the opening of its first drive-in movie theater in February of 1938, in the city of Miami.

Executive Director of Hernando Community Coalition, Tresa J. Watson, does indeed regard this event as perfect for the summer, and for the family! “This is a great event for youth and families to spend time together in a positive environment free of drugs and alcohol,” she said.

The younger HCC board members, members of the Youth Action Board, are a driving force behind the movie night as well. “Supervised kids serve the hot dogs and popcorn,” shared Watson. “It makes kids feel more welcome if they can interact with people their own age.”

Watson says that previous movie nights have drawn anywhere from 100 to 500 guests, this will mark the first such event hosted at Kennedy Park. Slusser hopes to see many more to come. “As we are continuing to move forward through the time of the pandemic, we know that both teens and families are looking for events and activities to participate in,” she said. “We have been doing more family events and programs in Brooksville so that the families can have their YMCA experience and see how impactful the YMCA is and can be.”

And this is just the beginning! Watson stated, “The Y is offering monthly family events at the YMCA facility on Mariner Blvd. We will continue to look at opportunities to offer family events in the Brooksville area as well.” Watson hopes that, as they enjoy “Space Jam: A New Legacy” that family movie night will score a real slam dunk with area families. “This is the opportunity to bring people together to have fun at no cost. It’s for the family,” stated Watson. Call the YMCA at 352-688-9622 for more information about family outdoor movie night.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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