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Movies on Main returns with early Memorial Day opener

Max Hrenda • May 23, 2014 at 9:43 AM

There are times when parents and their children can disagree about how much time should be spent outside versus indoors doing things like watching movies.

This weekend, the town of Jonesborough is offering both sides a solution.

On Saturday, “Movies on Main,” which offers members of the public a chance to watch family-friendly movies along Main Street in downtown Jonesborough, returns for its fourth season.

The event, a cooperative effort between the town and the Jonesborough Area Merchants and Service Association, will take place outside the Lollipop Shop, 123 E. Main St. Lollipop Shop owner Jeff Gurley, who devised the event, said Movies on Main serves two purposes: to provide a free, fun night for families and to shine a spotlight on downtown Jonesborough.

“The overall intent is to offer a free family activity for local people, but to also encourage people who might be visiting Jonesborough to make a weekend out of it,” Gurley said.

Gurley, who also sits on the JAMSA board, proposed the event in 2010 as a way to help downtown businesses receive more foot traffic during the evening weekend hours. Though the event has historically started in July, this year, Gurley said, he wanted to mix it up.

“I though Memorial Day would be a natural weekend to jump-start it for the summer,” he said. “But we’re kind of doing a different schedule. It will be every other weekend, but (every Saturday) of July.”

Part of the reason for the extended schedule may have to do with the event’s historic turnout. Gurley said that anywhere from 200 to 400 people have been known to show up for a screening, and that, although Movies on Main has yet to begin, he has already received phone calls from as far off as Knoxville asking about it.

“Her specific question was what movie was showing in June,” he said. “They were just having a ladies’ weekend out. That’s the intent, to have activities and things going on where someone who’s visiting our town can stay and enjoy a nice weekend.”

Movies range from older family films — such as “The Mighty Ducks” (1992) and “The Lion King” (1994) — to recent blockbusters like Disney’s “Frozen” and Marvel’s “The Avengers.” In addition to just watching movies, however, Gurley said he would try to incorporate games and activities that matched up, thematically, with some of the films.

“When we show the movie, “The Mighty Ducks,” we’re going to probably ... bring some brooms and hockey nets to entertain the kids,” he said. “For the movie ‘Up,’ I was hoping to get a tethered hot air balloon in town, but we haven’t had any luck securing (one).”

Even if there isn’t a specialized activity, Movies on Main attendees will be able to play “Candy Bingo” every movie night to have a chance at winning a candy-related prize from Gurley’s shop. Candy Bingo will take place very movie night at 8 .

The movies themselves will be shown on an inflatable screen in front of the Lollipop Shop at 8:30 p.m. Although attendance is free, Gurley encouraged potential guests to bring canned food items for donation to the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association’s food pantry.

Even if people can’t bring canned food for donation, Gurley still encouraged them to come down and enjoy themselves.

“There’s not a better place to watch an outdoor movie,” he said. “It’s a pretty special night to watch a movie on Main Street with the courthouse lights on, no traffic, and have a fun night with the family.”

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