Draws about 450 People to the Recreation Center
The 16th year of Movies in the Park opened on Saturday with “Back to the Future.” More than 450 people came out for the free hot dogs, the free movie and a chance to get together with neighbors.
This year’s debut film was selected by residents and was being shown in honor of the long-time Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Arnie Wishnick, who passed away in April.
Wishnick’s widow Jackie Maduff, who attended the movie with her daughter Wendy, son-in-law Daniel and granddaughter Bella, said “Arnie has received so many rewards from this community. This is another testament to how much he was loved.”
MITP co-founder David Williams said that from this year forward, the Arnie Wishnick Community Choice movie will open the August series.
More than 300 people voted on Nextdoor and Facebook for “Back to the Future.”
Movies in the Park is a nonprofit founded in 2004 by Williams and John Wirth and joined by Andy Frew and Brad Lusk.
Williams was asked the most challenging aspect for continuing this every-Saturday-in-August movie tradition.
“Getting sponsors,” he said, noting the nonprofit is dependent on help in paying for the movies. “Dan Urbach has been a sponsor for 14 of 16 years, Gelson’s had been a sponsor for 12 years – and this year we have a whole group of new sponsors. It’s a record number.”
What’s the best part of organizing the series. “Seeing the community enjoying the event makes it all worth it for me,” Williams said. “It’s Mayberry at its best.”
As kids threw footballs and ran around the fields, Williams noted that “It seems more playful this year. There are a lot of multi families. It’s just so great. It’s a feel good all around.
Co-founder Frew agreed with him. “I’m pleased to see this tradition has continued. It’s wonderful to see the crowd and the kids playing in the park.”
Frew was asked which movie he’s looking forward to seeing, and like many people who watched “Wizard of Oz” (1939) decades ago, he is anxious to see if the monkeys and witch are as scary as he remembers.
There will be raffles every week. On Saturday, the Brian Taper family won the $50 Mini Mioche gift certificate.
Palisades Funding donated two insulated reusable bags containing a flashlight, a blanket, football and glow bracelets. The Merrill and Hansson families claimed these prizes.
Shawna Wilson won the $50 gift card to Palisades Pitstop. When asked when she was taking her car in to be cleaned, she said “Next week!”
For those who didn’t win a prize, the hot dogs, purchased by former Citizen of the Year and president of the Park Advisory Board Mike Skinner and served up by the park staff, were an excellent consolation prize.
Palisades Rec Director Erich Haas said he pays his staff to come and grill them because “It’s our way of giving back to the community for signing up for park programs.”
This year’s sponsors are: Thesman Family, the Palisades Woman’s Club, Gelson’s, Kehillat Israel, Marc Michael Eyewear Studio, Palisades Pitstop, Palisades Presbyterian Preschool, Palisades Village Rodeo Realty, David Tishbi, the Optimist Club, Dan Urbach-Realtor (Compass), Pacific Palisades Dentistry, Palisades Funding and the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association.
The lineup for 2019 is:
August 10, “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
August 17, “Finding Nemo.”
August 24, “Incredibles 2.”
August 31, “Black Panther.”