By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The Movies in the Park project originated from a previous Leadership Marshfield outdoor movie event that had been orchestrated to coincide with Marshfield’s 2006 Dairyfest.
Using the concept, a 2010 Leadership Marshfield project group set out to rejuvenate and expand the idea of outdoor movie entertainment.
“Through Leadership Marshfield, we have to figure out a project, and I am sitting at the Chamber, and it was Brad Remmen who called,” said Karen Isaacson, project group member and Marshfield Chamber of Commerce & Industry workforce development director. “We were kind of struggling on deciding what we wanted to do.
“We ended up being in two different groups at one point, and Brad called, and I said, ‘I really like this project, but I can’t get the group that I am in currently to buy into it. It is doing outdoor movies if you guys want to pick that one up.’
“What ended up happening is I ended up joining the group because they said, ‘Yes, we like this. What do we need to do?’”
The team of Mike Bauman, Dennis Keffer, Dr. Curt Kracht, Remmen, and Isaacson then set out to create a series of free outdoor movie events during the summer months.
“The first year we had a goal of playing four movies, and we started with the Picnic in the Park event, which is part of Dairyfest,” explained Isaacson. “We teamed up with another event, Hub City Days. We figured that it would be easier to team up with an existing event to show these things because the crowds would already be here, and it would kind of enhance the events.
“Then, we did a standalone, which was a drive-in style event. … It was the old style of listening to a movie. We parked cars and had concessions. It was at the fairgrounds park.”
The group obtained funding for equipment and movie licensing, working with several local businesses and organizations, and began a program that has continued through the years.
“We started it, and all of us stayed on,” added Isaacson. “This is the sixth year. … This year we did have the 2016-2017 Leadership team pick this project up and is working with us trying to keep it going.”
As the ongoing Movies in the Park sponsorships came to an end in 2016, a 2016-2017 Leadership Marshfield project group consisting of Jake Charron, Gwen Condon, Adam Hable, Richard Plummer, and Dr. Rachel Stankowski stepped forward to help sustain the program.
Working together, the collaborating groups secured additional sponsors and began work on the 2017 movie season.
Scheduled movie dates are June 2, June 30, July 28, and Aug. 11.
For more information on Movies in the Park, visit marshfieldchamber.com/movies.
(Editor’s note: In the version of this story that appeared in the May 10 print edition of the Hub City Times, the Movies in the Park URL was incorrect. It has been corrected in this version.)