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Pass the Popcorn at Free Outdoor Movies

It used to be that you could pile up your kids — or your friends — into a car, pay a flat fee and watch two movies at the drive-in on a warm summer night. It was a low cost way to see fun movies and socialize. Zee will never get to go to the Skyview Drive-in, which closed in 2007 to make way for a medical facility. However, the spirit of the outdoor movie experience lives, in a small way, with the free films in the park and on the beach offered by Santa Cruz, Monterey and Capitola.

On Saturday, July 10, the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation screens Surf’s Up, a documentary-style animated tale of an Antarctic penguin who longs to win a tropical surf competition. The PG-rated fare — showing at Harvey West Park — follows rock hopper Cody Maverick on his journey to the Big Z Memorial Surf Off, the most important competition in the world of penguin surfing. Seating starts at 8 p.m. and the film starts at 8:45 p.m. Bring a blanket or low chairs. There will be free face-painting and snacks for sale. Babe, the story of a can-do pig, will be shown July 17.

Hip-swiveling Elvis kicks off The New Monterey Business Association’s Movies in the Park on July 10. Viva Las Vegas, a lighthearted romp also starring Ann-Margret, will light up Scholze Park after sunset. While admission is free, space limitations mean you will need to get a ticket from any participating shop along Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey. Look for the Movies in the Park poster in the window. Other films include Turner and Hooch on August 14 and Raiders of the Lost Ark on September 11. The local PTA will sell snacks, so bring some cash.

On August 27, Capitola’s Movies on the Beach series, held on Capitola City Beach, starts up with a film yet to be announced. The three films definitely scheduled are Beach Blanket Bingo on September 3, Mama Mia on September 4 and Beetlejuice on September 10. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m., free popcorn flows from 7 to 7:30 p.m. and the movie starts at 7:30 p.m. Bring beach chairs and blankets. I can get chilly.

Even if you’ve seen these films before, there’s something magical watching them on a big screen with the stars up above. So pass the popcorn, please!

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Movies at Harvey West Park
WHEN: Surf’s Up (July 10), Babe (July 17). Seating starts at 8 p.m., movies start at 8:45 p.m.
WHERE: Harvey West Park Stadium, 300 Evergreen Street, Santa Cruz
COST: Free
AGE RANGE: All ages
MORE INFORMATION: City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation, (831) 420-5273

WHAT: Movies in Monterey
WHEN: Viva Las Vegas (July 10), Turner and Hooch (Aug. 14), Raiders of the Lost Ark (Sept. 11). Movies begin after sunset
WHERE: Scholze Park, corner of Lighthouse Avenue and Dickman Avenue, Monterey
COST: Free, but ticket needed die to space limitations. Tickets available in advance from any participating shop along Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey
AGE RANGE: All ages
MORE INFORMATION: The New Monterey Business Association, (831) 655-8070

WHAT: Capitola’s Movies at the Beach
WHEN: TBA (August 27), Beach Blanket Bingo (September 3), Mama Mia (September 4), Beetlejuice (September 10). Seating begins at 6:30 p.m., movie starts at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Capitola City Beach, San Jose Ave & Esplanade, Capitola
COST: Free
AGE RANGE: All ages
MORE INFORMATION: City of Capitola, (831) 475-5935

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