After just two years, the Elburn Parks Commission has decided to permanently cancel the “Movies in the Park” series due to low attendance.
Rob Reilley, parks commissioner, said that the Parks Commission began the program after residents suggested the idea, with the first event in the summer of 2020.
“We showed two movies that first year, and we had a decent amount of people, so it seemed to be a good idea and was going strong,” he said. “But after we moved [the series] indoors last October, barely anybody showed up. Then this year, attendance was light.”
“Movies in the Park” featured a mix of classic and newer films shown the second Friday of each month June through September at Elburn’s Prairie Park. But after a poor showing last month, this month’s movie is canceled.
“After August’s [low] attendance, we didn’t think it was worth pursuing a September movie,” he said. “We asked for sponsors but we couldn’t get any. This year, we had to use money from the village. It’s been rough.”
Reilley said that the village advertised the movies, and the events were posted on Facebook. He said he thinks attendance was low in part because people can now access many films instantly at home.
“I think people liked the idea, and the execution was good, but how do you get people to come out in 2022 and see an outdoor movie that they can stream?” he said. “The sound in the park was amazing, so that was worth it alone. All the movies were amazing to watch, it was just getting people out there.”
Elburn Parks Commission contracted with a company that had the equipment, and the proper licensing, to show the movies. When the program started two years, there were sponsors that paid for the events.
“It gave people something to do, especially teenagers, and we also let people guide what movies they wanted to see. So it’s sad,” Reilley said.
Reilley hopes the program will return at some point, but as of now, he said the Elburn Parks Commission is not planning to offer it next year.