Where else but downtown Waxahachie can families and friends gather under an unbelievable starry Texas sky, sit in lawn chairs or settle in the back of pickup trucks and watch a movie projected on the side of a historical building?
With the addition of the Summer Moonlight Movies series to the list of activities in downtown, the city of Waxahachie provides another reason for the community to gather together and enjoy nostalgic entertainment in the heart of the city.
On June 22, the city hosted the first Summer Moonlight Movies night, showing “Grease” on The Plaid Donkey building located at the corner of Franklin and College. Downtown maintenance worker Wally Mendez said 100 people attended the first movie night.
“It rained about 15 minutes before we showed the movie - we had about 100 people show up and it was a good turnout,” Mendez said. “The movie was very good. For the first time doing this, I think it was a great success.”
Waxahachie City Councilman Joe Gallo, with his two children in tow, watched the classic musical and described the event as safe and entertaining.
“Last month, I took my two children to see ‘Grease,’ and we had a terrific time as a family. The streets were blocked off, so it was a safe place — free of traffic — for kids and families to enjoy our historic downtown area,” Gallo said. “I was especially pleased to see such a large crowd participating in the event and the clear night sky provided us a beautiful ceiling of the moon and stars.”
For Gallo, the event served as another reason why he has made his home in Waxahachie.
“The next day, I called my father in Minnesota and told him all about it,” Gallo said. “I said, ‘Dad, that is why I live here. That is why I am raising your grandchildren here.’ He said, ‘I understand. It sounds a lot like when you took the kids trick or treating downtown.’ I said ‘You’re exactly right, Dad. It had that same feeling. Isn’t Waxahachie a great city?”
The series includes two more movies during the summer, with “Over the Hedge” showing Friday, July 27. The Lions Club will be on hand to sell pickles, popcorn and snow cones for $1, with proceeds benefiting Lions Club projects.
“They start at 9 o’clock and those who come first will get the best seat. But, there’s not a bad seat once we close (College). Some people parked in front of the museum and sat on their tailgates and watched the show,” Mendez said, adding that others brought lawn chairs and blankets and settled in and along College Street, as well as the parking lot located directly beside the Plaid Donkey building.
“We recommend people bring their lawnchairs, blankets and things that are going to be comfortable,” Mendez said, adding that those attending are welcome to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks to the event. “They can bring anything — sandwiches, chicken — they can have a picnic. We’ll close the street down around 6 and people usually start showing up around 8.”
Mendez also said an evening version of the Downtown Farmers Market runs in conjunction with the Moonlight Movie series, with vendors setting up shop at 7:30 p.m.
“During the movie night you can go over there and buy a watermelon and cut it open on your tailgate,” Mendez said.
Mendez cited downtown development director Anita Kornegay as the creator and organizer of the event.
“She’s the one who more or less put this all together. She’s just trying to bring a family atmosphere downtown,” Mendez said. “I really like it. I had my son down there watching the movie. That’s what we want. We want Waxahachie to be known as a friendly town.”
“I absolutely love the concept of the downtown movie night. I believe this is going to be a big hit for our community,” Gallo said. “I am proud of the city, the chamber and all the people who helped put on such a positive event.”
“Over the Hedge” is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Friday, July 27. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will show at 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24. The events are free of admission.
“I think ‘Over the Hedge’ is going to be even better. I think a lot of kids are going to be there,” Mendez said.
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