Northwoods Mall transforms parking lot into free community drive-in theater


UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 29: Residents watch ‘Trolls’ at a drive-in movie arranged by Nassau County at the parking lot of NYCB’s LIVE at the Nassau Coliseum on May 29, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. As movie theatres in New York state remain closed, municipalities along with private organizations are finding creative methods for entertaining visitors while maintaining social distance. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Northwoods Mall is looking to provide some summer entertainment, social distancing style.

The mall is presenting free, family-friendly movies as part of a new series of drive-in movies known as Free Cinema Under the Stars. The drive-in opens this Friday.

Cars will be admitted starting at 8 p.m. and the movie will begin at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The series will run through July 11, weather permitting.

When guests arrive, cars will be directed to a spot spaced from other visitors and tune their radio to a designated station for audio streaming from their own cars. The films will be shown in the parking lot by Round1.

“As part of the fabric of Peoria area, we have been inspired by the resilience of our neighbors,” said Ryan Whalen General Manager at Northwoods Mall. “It is a privilege to welcome guests to this classic drive-in experience and provide a safe way for our community to share an experience together.”

This new series is presented by Northwoods Mall’s parent company, Washington Prime Group, in partnership with The Arts District and sponsored in part by The RoomPlace. The Arts District will be using the latest technology and their world-class team of artists and engineers to transform exterior spaces into social distancing-safe cinemas.

Donations, and a portion of the concessions, will go towards the Children’s Home Association of Illinois.

“We are thrilled to partner with Washington Prime Group on this initiative as a way to give back to the community through free, social distancing-friendly movie screenings,” Arts District CEO Mark Robert said. “The Arts District is a new cultural exhibition and entertainment complex opening in malls across the country in 2021. We are excited to announce that we will begin this rollout with Washington Prime Group properties.”

The films include:

  • 6/19- “Instant Family”
  • 6/20- “A League Of Their Own”
  • 6/26 – “Grease”
  • 6/27 – “Goonies”
  • 7/3 – “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”
  • 7/4 – “Jaws”
  • 7/10 – “Dirty Dancing”
  • 7/11 – “Transformers: Bumblebee”

Space is limited, guests are encouraged to secure their tickets in advance through Eventbrite.

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