Pass the popcorn: Outdoor movie series offers pandemic protocol screenings in Edwards

Freedom Park is the locale for a special pandemic protocol outdoor movie series this summer.
Daily file photo

Sometimes its the little stuff that makes life during a worldwide pandemic a bit easier.

Little stuff like enjoying a night at the movies. Judging by the enthusiastic response to the Outdoor Movie Series that launches Thursday night in Edwards, the little stuff can be a big deal.

A partnership between Mountain Recreation, Mountain YouthVail Valley PartnershipEagle Valley Behavioral Health, and Riverwalk Theater has announced plans to screen a diverse set of three movies under the stars at Edwards Freedom Park during the month of August. The movies are projected on to a 40-foot screen rented specifically for the events and the series kicks off with a showing of “Selena.” The movie will start when the sun goes down.

It’s actually a bit of a misnomer to say the event is sold out. Admission for the series is free but an RSVP is required by visiting:

According to Lizzie Owens from Mountain Recreation, the reservation process is part of a comprehensive COVID-19 protocol in place for the series. While movie goers are welcome to bring a picnic or grab something to eat from a food truck parked on site, they are assigned a specific square on the grass at Freedom Park and when you sit in the center of your spot, you are 30 feet from your neighbor.

Support Local Journalism

“We wanted to make sure we were very socially distanced,” said Owens. “We are working closely with Eagle County Public Health.”

Safety first

Anyone who signs up for the series is presented with an expansive event policy list:

  • This event is limited to 125 attendees maximum.
  • The venue opens 30 minutes prior to the film for people to find their grid location on the Freedom Park field.
  • Masks are required when entering and exiting the event. When people are seated for the movie they may remove masks.
  • Groups must maintain 6 feet of distances at all times during the event. (Groups are limited to 8 people per the county public health order; non-walking children are not included in the total group number).
  • Markings on the ground demonstrate where to sit and everyone is asked to remain in his or her specified group marking during the event.
  • Participants should bring their own blankets or low camp chairs.
  • Everyone must check-in upon arrival so organizers can keep a headcount for the evening. Everyone receives an event bracelet for re-entry.
  • If you feel unwell or sick, please stay home and do not attend this movie night.

Additionally, all attendees are asked to follow the five commitments of containment.

Something for all

Content is what differentiates the Freedom Park movie series from other outdoor film showings, Owens said.

“We wanted to make sure we were hitting groups that may not have other options,” she said.

The next showing is Aug. 20 with R-rated “The Conjuring,” a horror movie that will likely bring in a younger crowd.

“There is a huge population of young adults and older teens who love horror movies,” said Owens. “It was a film we wanted to bring in so the young adults would have something.”

The series will conclude on Sept. 3 with a showing of 1985 classic “The Goonies.”

“We have had a lot of enthusiasm for that film. ‘The Goonies’ is for everyone,” Owens said.

More to come?

Owens said organizers haven’t yet discussed expanding the series, but given its popularity, that discussion is likely to happen.

“We will certainly talk about it for next summer as well,” she said.

In addition to the organizers, the series sponsors are First Bank, State Farm, the Edwards Metro District, SpeakUp ReachOut, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, Avid Design and the Vail Daily. On-site, Fill and Refill is donating hand sanitizer and the Zero Waste team from Walking Mountains is offering recycling services at a discounted rate.

Support Local Journalism