Movies are back for an eighth season of neighborhood fun at Ojibway Park.
There’s something about a clear summer night, sitting in the grass beneath a blanket of stars. And on Thursday evenings at Ojibway Park, as the sun dips below the horizon and the sound of children’s laughter melts into a quiet joy, Starlight Cinema begins.
This summer will be the eighth season for Starlight Cinema—a biweekly summer event put on by Woodbury resident and event planner Amanda Roseth in partnership with the City of Woodbury. It began as a dream to connect her community. A mom of four, Roseth knew she wanted to use her passion to give back to her community. “I moved to Woodbury, and I had set a goal for myself to develop some type of event that the community would embrace,” she says.
Roseth started in her backyard, inviting the neighborhood over for various events, including movie nights. “I had a movie screen that I hung from my deck, and I’d invite tons of neighbors over and all the kids would come. We’d have a bonfire, and they’d be running around doing night games and watching the movie. It just became a tradition,” Roseth says.
When Roseth decided to take the movie night up a notch in 2016, she wanted to bring that same sense of energy, excitement and connection to the broader community. “I didn’t just want a movie in the park, I wanted it to be really unique and interactive,” Roseth says.
The result is five summer evenings of pure fun, complete with a family-friendly movie on a 40-foot inflatable movie screen, various themed programs, activities and games, food vendors, special guests and more.
“Starlight Cinema creates a fun, safe and unique experience for our Woodbury community. Every event is slightly different with various entertainment and activities engaging to both kids and adults,” says Brandon Severson, branch manager at Spire Credit Union: Woodbury—the “Best Picture” sponsor this year. “Not only do I work in Woodbury, I also live in Woodbury—I can share first hand that our family is grateful for the opportunity this event provides, and we look forward to it every summer.”
Activities vary each event, but entertainment this season will include safe archery from Northern Star Council, free face painting, themed crafts from Kidcreate Studio, the SoWashCo Skoolie Bus, oversized chess and checkers, hula hoop contests, gaga ball, water relay races and trivia. Of the many beloved events, the water relay race—involving buckets, sponges and loads of fun—has become a fan-favorite. “The kids love relay races, especially the water relays,” Roseth says. “The kids know to run down to the event table to sign up.”
For Roseth, it’s the joy of sharing her passion that keeps her coming back each year. “Everyone has so much fun while they’re there, and seeing all the smiles and reactions as people walk out of the movie … The community has been very positive and excited about the event every year,” Roseth says.
As the event has grown in popularity, other communities have reached out to Roseth to bring something similar to them. But, for now, Starlight Cinema is just for Woodbury. “It’s something special to Woodbury because this is the community I live in, and I want to give back to the community that I live in,” Roseth says.
Specific movie nights will bring special visitors like the Tower Princess (for Tangled on July 13), a hula hoop performance, live animals from Carpenter Nature Center and dance instructors from Woodbury Dance Center—all made possible by the support of area sponsors.
“Woodbury is such a young and growing community, [the event] is perfect because it is geared toward families,” Roseth says.
The event is free to the public; school supplies and monetary donations for South Washington County Schools are encouraged. Other recommended items to bring include a folding lawn chair or blanket, umbrellas and rain gear for inclement weather, cash for concessions, warm clothing and mosquito repellent. Dogs are welcomed on leashes.
July 13: Tangled
Entertainment 7 p.m.; Movie 9:20 p.m.
July 27: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Entertainment 7 p.m.; Movie 9 p.m.
August 10: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Entertainment 7 p.m.; Movie 8:45 p.m.