SOUTHWICK – A mobile drive-in theater is coming to Southwick.
Joseph Deedy, founder of the Southwick Civic Fund, said he is creating a 35-foot mobile movie screen and has partnered with Wick 338 and Westfield River Brewing to show movies starting in mid-July. He plans to host a movie every two weeks on Friday evenings through December.
“We will do eight nights at the motocross pits and four at the brewery and we are planning a night on the lake,” Deedy said. “We can show it at the boat ramp and people can bring their boats up and watch or watch by the gazebo. They could watch ‘Jaws’ from the water.
“We are planning for family-friendly movies,” he said, noting the first movie will be “Sing” on July 24.
Wick 338 President Rick Johnson June 23 met via zoom with the Southwick Select Board to request approval for hosting the drive-ins and said they would practice social distancing. He added that the events would be fundraisers for town fireworks.
“We have hosted the fireworks for several years and of all years, we probably need it now more than ever,” said Johnson, adding “we have not had the chance to fundraise” for fireworks.
Deedy said there would be a suggested donation of $20 per vehicle, however, all are welcome to the drive-in events.
With the annual fireworks celebration postponed and the year-long Celebrate Southwick 250 events pushed until next year due to COVID-19, Southwick Civic Fund organizers wanted to do something fun for the community.
“People want to get out and see other people, but still be socially distant,” said Deedy. “This is a great way to do that.”
Participants can sit in their vehicles or bring a chair and sit next to their cars and listen to the movie through the FM transmitter. Deedy purchased the transmitter and projector and is working with Leisure Time Canvas of West Springfield on designing and building the screen, which will be attached to a box truck and can be transported easily.
Deedy said there are some licensing hurdles to showing the movies and he said they will likely show older movies families have probably not seen on a big screen in a long time.
Sergio Bonavita of Westfield River Brewing said he looks forward to the events.
“Joe has obviously done great work with the Civic Fund and we are happy to help them out,” he said. “Our site is perfect for a drive-in and we can’t wait to make it happen.”
Southwick Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart said he wanted the building inspector to review the plans and added that the drive-in was a fun break from staying home.
“This is an issue happening in every community — they need outlets for entertainment,” said Stinehart.
Selectman Russell S. Fox made a motion to approve the request pending Stinehart’s requested review.
Deedy said Moolicious Farm Ice Cream would offer refreshments for purchase and portable restrooms will be available. Families are welcome to bring their own snacks. Dates and a schedule of movies are not yet confirmed.