Talleyrand Park Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823
Of all the community-oriented things that the Bellefonte Women's Club (BWC) has been involved in for over a century now, and there have been so many, it might be tough to top this one.
'Movies in the Park', the brainchild of club member, Karen Truesdale, has been a long time in the works and promises to bring family-friendly movies to Talleyrand Park across the entire summer starting in 2019. For a town like Bellefonte and the surrounding area, this is huge. Kids abound here. Summer nights are often gentle and sublime. What could possibly be better than spreading out a blanket on the grass and watching a Hollywood flick on a big screen under the stars, you know?
And come to think of it, how has this not happened before?
"I had heard quite a number of years ago that the idea of starting a project like this had been circulating around the community. However, nothing ever happened," Truesdale explains. "So last year, I posed the idea to the members of the BWC and they had encouraged me to look into what it would take to start something of this magnitude."
That wasn't the whole story though. They say Hollywood casts a magic spell over people at times. Films- at their best- inspire viewers. And we may all have a 2001 romantic comedy to thank for Truesdale's inspiration here.
"I had seen the movie, The Wedding Planner, in which there is a segment where people are sitting in a park watching an old black and white movie," she reflects. "I guess I thought that we can do something like that in our beautiful park."
She was right, of course. But what most of the crowd that shows up on Saturday, September 15th to watch the very first movie in the park (and the only one before next summer) won't realize is that it hasn't been easy to make this happen. Not by a long shot.
This past spring the borough council approved the overall idea for movies to be shown in Talleyrand Park. That was a major boost, yet there was much more to conquer. Movie licensing fees are high. Plus there was also a demand for pricey equipment too, like a projector and a screen and speakers. The Women's Club reached out to local businesses in search of sponsorship. Feedback was positive, but donations were slow at first.
Then, after contacting First National Bank with their idea, the ladies' hard work and vision began to pay off. The bank wanted to get involved.
That was a game changer.
"To be very honest, I wouldn't have been able to continue to pursue this if First National Bank did not believe in me or the project," Truesdale says. "First National Bank graciously sponsored this project in the way of purchasing the movie equipment! Consequently, the BWC and First National Bank will be presenting Saturday Night Movies in the Park."
Sponsorship from a trusted big name like First National is massive for a small-town group of folks trying to pull something off like 'Movies in the Park'. But why exactly would a giant bank care so much about this undertaking?
"We pride ourselves on our involvement in the communities we serve," explains Nick Lingenfelter, FNB Market Manager. ‘Movies in the Park’ is a perfect example of how we partner with local organizations on projects that enrich our local communities. We are pleased to support the Bellefonte Women’s Club, and look forward to seeing the group’s vision come to life at the preview event."
So a big bank and a small town group of visionaries pair up and the end result is something that will quite likely make thousands of locals happy for years to come.
One lingering question remains though. After all the dedication and work Karen Truesdale and her Bellefonte Women's Club have put into this, is she at all nervous about the big opening night coming up on September 15th?
Well, yeah. But who wouldn't be?
"I will be so relieved and hopefully extremely happy when the morning of September 16 rolls around," Truesdale exclaims. "Right now I am getting more and more anxious as the days leading to the event get closer. But I have a wonderful committee working with me on the project. I couldn't have done all of this without them and their wonderful ideas."
Movies in the Park Presents: The Nutjob 2
Sat. Sept. 15th, 2018, 7:30pm.
Free. Sponsored by The Bellefonte Women’s Club and First National Bank
**Children under 13 MUST BE ACCOMPANIED by an adult**
Bring a chair or blanket - popcorn and water will be available for sale.
(In case of inclement weather, the movie will be shown at the Bellefonte YMCA.)
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