By Tanner Kent
Free Press Features Editor
ST PETER — After years of kicking the idea around, the St. Peter Department of Recreation is ready to debut Movies in the Park.
“It’s our first summer,” said program director Lance Dlouhy. “But we’ve been wanting to do this for a few years.”
Fortunately for St. Peter, Tyler Woitas had his own moment of inspiration last fall.
The entrepreneur was canoeing in the Boundary Waters when he started thinking about an ad he saw on Craigslist for a man trying to sell a mechanical bull. Knowing the rowdy contraption would be a sure hit at parties and events -- but also worried about having to spend too much time at bars -- Woitas lit upon a different party rental option:
Inflatable projection screens.
Through his rental company Why Not Events, Woitas owns two of the screens -- one 12 feet high, the other 16 feet. They’re relatively lightweight, he said, and easy to install.
“You pretty much hook up the air generator and just leave it on,” he said.
As for St. Peter, the screens were an answer to a logistical head-scratcher.
With the movies held in Jefferson Park, officials had to find a screen that would be large enough for hundreds of people to comfortably view a movie. Woitas’ inflatable screens provided a solution.
Now, with the screens in place, St. Peter is moving ahead with four movies this summer.
The first -- “Rango” -- begins at 9:20 p.m., but each movie is preceded by activities, trivia, prizes and concessions that begin one hour before dusk. The events are made possible by a variety of local businesses and organizations that provided funding to show the movies.
Upcoming films include: “Back to the Future,” “Remember the Titans” and “We Bought a Zoo.”