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Bridge Church to offer drive-in movie experience in Charles City Saturday

By James Grob,

Charles City residents can enjoy an old-fashioned drive-in movie this weekend.

“We hope it’s something to do that’s safe and easy, and something that everyone of every age can enjoy,” said Pastor Rob Williams of The Bridge Church in Charles City.

On Saturday, the church will be showing the first of three planned drive-in movie nights at the parking lot at Charles City High School. This weekend’s entertainment will be “The Lego Movie.” On Saturday, Oct. 10, the movie will be “The Princess Bride,” and on Oct. 24, the movie will be “Despicable Me.”

Williams said the church intentionally chose movies that children enjoy but also have grown-up humor in them.

“We wanted movies that would reach everyone,” Williams said. “We realize that it’s not only going to be a kids’ event, but also a nostalgia event for a lot of people.”

Williams said the high school parking lot will open at 6 p.m., and that the event will include music, dancing, concessions and “fun for everyone” at a safe social distance. The movie will start at dark, and Williams encouraged the attendees to bring a blanket.

An inflatable screen and a sound system will be set up, and those in their cars will be able to tune into a radio station to listen in. The movie will be free. Concessions will be sold, and all the proceeds from concession sales will be donated to the Charles City School District.

The Charles Theatre has agreed to pop a large amount of popcorn for the event. Concessions will also include candy, and canned soda that will be safe to distribute. All the volunteers will be wearing masks.

“We’re doing everything we can to make it safe for the public,” Williams said.

Maria’s Tacos will also have a food truck on site, so attendees can enjoy some supper as they watch the movie.

Williams said that The Bridge Church feels an obligation to do more than serve its congregation and invite people to services. It also wants to make an impact in the community.

“Ever since The Bridge Church launched about five years ago, we’ve done everything possible to try to partner with our community, care for our community, and be a positive influence on what’s going on,” he said. “All summer long, with this pandemic, we’ve been looking for ways to be a light in the community.”

He said that one of the ways to do that right now was to give people in the community something fun to do, “because COVID-19 has shut so many things down.” He said he’s seen that other churches in Iowa have done the same thing, so The Bridge wanted to give it a try.

“We’ve got an awesome school system that’s been doing great things, the food bank and other churches have been doing great things, and we’re hoping we can do our part,” Williams said. “We’re excited to see how it all comes out on Saturday.”

Williams said he was also excited for the event for personal reasons. Originally from Des Moines, Williams often attended a drive-in movie theater when he was young, and he misses the experience.

“It broke my heart when they closed it down,” he said. “It’s now a Menard’s. I sure miss that drive-in.”