Middleburgh Rotary launches Carpool Cinema


By Patsy Nicosia

Casting about for something to replace, well, just about everything, the Middleburgh Rotary Club is partnering with other community organizations for free drive-in movies at Timothy Murphy Park.
And the idea—Carpool Cinema—has been a winner.
For a showing of the “Lion King” on August 22—the series kickoff—cars and pickups were pulling in an hour before the 8:30pm start time, said Jason Dannible, Middleburgh Rotary president.
Saturday was the 2019 release “Playing With Fire,” with the movies for Friday, September 25 and Saturday, October 10 still to be decided.
“We were really just looking for something that we could do for the community that would be fun and socially responsible,” Mr. Dannible said, “and this has been a hit.”
So much so, he said, that after the “Lion King,” a man came up to say how welcome the sound of kids just laughing was.
All of the drive-in movies are family-friendly and free; people are asked to stay in their cars and wear masks if they have to get out and Rotarians are there to help with parking.
Though Rotarians liked the idea of the movies series from the start, Mr. Dannible said at first, they were concerned about the costs--$2,000 for inflatable screen, plus more for a FM transmitter and a projector, and then $400 a movie for licensing fees.
But the community pitched in with the costs, he said, with MEVAC, the MCS Booster Club, and the Middleburgh Library all helping cover expenses.
The last movie in the 2020 series will be held on October 10, which in any other year would have been the date of Middleburgh’s Fall Festival and Timothy Murphy Run—cancelled because of COVID-19.
“It won’t be the same, but it seemed like a good day for the last movie, a way to close out the season, Mr. Dannible said.
“It’s all just a way to give families something fun and free to do.”