Lake Norman Magazine

Movies under the stars

Cornelius Outdoor Cinema Series.
Cornelius Outdoor Cinema Series. Courtesy of Cornelius PARC Department

Summers and movies go together like peanut butter and jelly. Hollywood is certainly hip to this notion when it comes to blockbusters. But what if you’re looking for an alternative outing to the cookie-cutter theaters? What if your wallet is hoping for a break from the price of a movie ticket?

Take your friends, your date or your family to one of the many outdoor summer movie series in the Lake Norman area. For many years, our towns along the lake have hosted summer outdoor movie events that are free and open to the public. Hint: While the sponsors aim to show the most recent and popular films, it’s not usually the movie itself that keeps people coming back year after year.

Cornelius Outdoor Cinema SeriesIt’s like a drive-in movie without the car, says Rhonda Hollingsworth, special events coordinator for the Cornelius PARC Department. “We show recent movies on our state-of-the-art blimp screen,” she explains. The Outdoor Cinema Series takes place two times each month from June to August, including the Boat-In event on July 20 at Ramsey Creek Park where the audience can arrive by land or lake. Movies begin at sun down and patrons are welcome to bring food (alcohol not permitted).

Movies are shown at various venues throughout Cornelius including: J.V. Washam Elementary (June 15); Torrence Chapel Church Park (June 29); Cornelius Town Hall (July 4); Ramsey Creek Park (July 20); Smithville Park (August 3); Cornelius Town Hall (August 17).

Movies on Main, MooresvilleMany people believe there’s a reason why movie theaters are air conditioned. The town of Mooresville supports your reasoning and offers its Movies on Main summer series at the air-conditioned Charles Mack Citizen Center in downtown Mooresville. Movies on Main runs year-round, showing outdoor movies on the Town Hall lawn during the cooler spring and fall months, and moving the event indoors during the hot summer and cold winter months. This summer, the series will showcase three family favorites: “Tangled” (June 17), “Shrek Forever After” (July 15), and “Despicable Me” (August 12). All movies start at 7:30 p.m. People are welcome to bring their own snacks.

Do you have a movie recommendation? If so, the town of Mooresville wants to hear from you. “We value suggestions and input from the public about Movies on Main,” says Stephanie Crisco, Supervisor of the Charles Mack Citizen Center. Visit the town’s Facebook page and leave a comment.

Movies at McGuire, HuntersvilleWhat do movies on the big screen have to do with nuclear energy? Absolutely nothing, except for two nights each summer when the lawn and cove at the Duke Energy McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville transform into outdoor movie theaters. About 1,500 people usually attend July and August movie nights. “We believe our attendance has grown because families are always looking for things to do that are both family and economically friendly,” says Valerie Patterson, Manager of Corporate Communications at Duke Energy/McGuire Nuclear Station. “Our location is unique because we provide a viewing screen for boaters, too.”

Movie dates are set for July 22 and August 12, but movie selections weren’t yet known at press time. “We wait as long as we can to select movies, ensuring we have the latest releases,” Patterson explains. Food and alcohol are permitted, and vendors are on site selling popcorn and other treats.

Movies in the Park, HuntersvilleThe Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department partners with Radiant Life Fellowship to host Movies in the Park on Aug. 26 at North Mecklenburg Park. The movie “Tangled” starts at 9 p.m., but the park opens at 5:30 p.m. for pre-movie festivities. “Bring chairs and blankets and plan to arrive early,” suggests Chris Thompson, Pastor of Radiant Life Fellowship. Free snacks, including popcorn, sodas and popsicles are provided, and food vendors will be on hand. Activities like Frisbee, cornhole tournaments, Wii games and giveaways provide fun until the sun goes down. “We make sure your experience is excellent, from parking to providing sunscreen and bug spray,” says Thompson.

So as long as the weather cooperates – and it usually does – you have a variety of options for outdoor stargazing of the Hollywood kind this summer. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and enjoy.

Want to go?1. Movies at McGuire: McGuire Nuclear Station, 12700 Hagers Ferry Road, Huntersville Movies in the Park: North Mecklenburg Park, 16131 Old Statesville Road, Huntersvillewww.moviesintheparkhuntersville.com3. Cornelius Outdoor Cinema Series: Locations Movies on Main: Charles Mack Citizen Center, 215 N. Main Street, Mooresville