McALESTER — Plans are fast-forwarding to bring big screen outdoor movies back to McAlester, through a series of films to be shown by the city in local parks.
The city plans to begin showing the films next month, Plans are to show the films on Saturday nights, which will keep them from clashing with high school football games, said City Manager Pete Stasiak. Currently, the target date for debut of the new film series is the second weekend in September, said Stasiak, which is Sept. 14. That’s what we’re shooting for,” Stasiak said. He expects the first movie to be shown at Chadick Park. Movie-goers can bring lawn chairs and blankets. Vendors will also be invited to the park to sell concessions during the showings — for which no admission will be charged.
In addition to the showings at the park, the city hopes to show the Western classic “True Grit” on Oct. 5 during the Wild West Festival in Old Town.
The version of “True Grit” starring John Wayne stays true to the Charles Portis novel, by portraying the city’s founder, J.J. McAlester, and his trading post in several scenes.
City Chief Financial Officer Toni Ervin presented the plan, which she called Movies in the Park, to the city council during the council’s Tuesday night meeting at City Hall.
The project includes the purchase of a portable, inflatable, outdoor screen to be set up and taken down for each showing by personnel from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said city Community Services Director Mel Priddy.
James Stanford, a computer systems and information technology specialist for the city of McAlester, said Thursday the new equipment has been ordered. It includes a 20 foot by 11 foot inflatable screen. Including the base and borders, the inflatable will be 21 and 1/2 feet tall and 27 feet wide, according to Stanford.