Movie in the Park well attended

June 27, 2013

Merced County Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Bryan Behn has been putting on movie night events for years, but he's yet to be confident everything will run smoothly.

"It never goes as planned," Behn said.

June 21 was no exception as Merced County and Los Banos Parks and Recreation staff struggled to keep the wind from toppling the tallest screen available for the Movie in the Park.

The free event, which featured "Hotel Transylvania," drew a few hundred people in search of no-cost family fun.

The screen was originally set up on the west end of Henry Miller Plaza but the wind caused city and county staff to move it near H Street facing south. The change didn't seem to matter much to moviegoers.

"This is great, is this the first time they've done this?" asked Raul Cervantes. "This is the first time we've come and we brought the kids."

Cervantes said he was paying a bill at city hall when he noticed a flier advertising the event.

The city has hosted Movie in the Park since 2007 when it was part of the city's centennial celebration. Now Los Banos partners with Merced County and a business, which for last week's movie was Pacific Gas & Electric Co., to hold the events.

Ann McCauley, event organizer, said she is planning to hold the event again on a Friday in late August. She said she wants to have it on a night when no high school football games are being played in town.

"I think it is nice when we can do it twice in the summer," she said. "This is such a neat town and we have such a beautiful plaza, and we could use this plaza a lot more."

The 2012 film shown last week tells the story of Dracula as a hotel owner whose regular clientele are monsters. He invites Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, the Invisible Man and others, to celebrate the 118th birthday of his daughter Mavis. Dracula attempts to prevent his daughter from falling for a human who visits the hotel.

A few vendors offered popcorn, churros and water for sale. PG&E sponsored the event, which costs about $1,400 for part-time staff, film rights and other expenses.

Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or by e-mail at

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