Public screening of ‘Jumanji’ builds Belmont’s sense of community

An+estimated+100+locals+gathered+in+Belmont%2C+awaiting+the+start+of+%22Jumanji%3A+Welcome+to+the+Jungle%22+on+the+night+of+Friday%2C+Sept.+20.
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Public screening of ‘Jumanji’ builds Belmont’s sense of community

An estimated 100 locals gathered in Belmont, awaiting the start of

An estimated 100 locals gathered in Belmont, awaiting the start of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" on the night of Friday, Sept. 20.

Wyatt Binnard

An estimated 100 locals gathered in Belmont, awaiting the start of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" on the night of Friday, Sept. 20.

Wyatt Binnard

Wyatt Binnard

An estimated 100 locals gathered in Belmont, awaiting the start of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" on the night of Friday, Sept. 20.

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Whispers died down as the movie screen brightened, the start of “Jumanji” filling the night with color and sound.

On Sept. 20, the Belmont Parks and Recreation Department held their third “Movies in the Park” event of the year at Twin Pines Park. According to the organizers, the public movie screening is designed to build a sense of community and enhance the quality of life.

“I think the value of these kinds of events is that it’s a shared experience in a shared space,” said Recreation Coordinator Brandon Council. “There’s something special about being in the same space as other people.”

“Movies in the Park” has been hosted each autumn for over ten years, according to Recreation Supervisor Michael Moran. Moran predicted that an average of 300 people came to each of the previous events this year, which is more than any prior year.

Greg Schoenberg, an IT specialist, was there with his 8-year-old son Liam and his 4-year-old daughter Catherine.

“We were here for the first ‘Movies in the Park,’” Greg Schoenberg said about last month’s screening of Captain Marvel. “It was pretty fun. My kids were excited to come back.”

Local organizations such as the Belmont Park Boosters help the Belmont Parks and Recreation Department coordinate the events.

“The Belmont Park Boosters donated the movie screening system,” Moran said. “They are a nonprofit that does concerts in the meadow on Sundays in the summer, and they raise funds for the city to enhance our parks.”

In addition to the Belmont Park Boosters, Belmont’s local 4-H group also pitched in. According to the Belmont 4-H website, the nonprofit focuses on “engaging youth to reach their fullest potential.”

“4-H is a youth-run organization that provides experiential learning opportunities for youth from ages 5 to 18,” said 4-H Belmont community leader Paul Friedrichs. “During the ‘Movies in the Park,’ we have the youth of the club come and run the concession stand.” 

According to Moran, by the time the movie started, only around 100 people had arrived, which is half of what he expected. Moran said it was most likely because the film is targeted towards an older audience.

Despite this, Moran thinks that the movie showings as a whole are successful, and he is excited about future events.

“Our next, and last, movie showing of the year is next Saturday, Sept. 28,” Moran said. “We’re partnering with Footsteps to show the original ‘Toy Story’ at Barrett Community Center, and over 300 families have already RSVP’d.” 

Like Moran, Council firmly believes that with each movie, the community of Belmont grows closer together.

“Maybe you’ll see someone from school, from Little League, or things like that,” Council said. “That’s why we like these kinds of special events; they get many people to come and have moments together.”

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