Editors note: This article has been updated to reflect that Family Movie Night will be held at Canyon City Park Fridays at 9 p.m; through August. Painted Sky Center for the Arts will host the weekly event.
The smell of fresh popcorn permeated Friday as the sun went down at the John Day City Park for Movie Night in the Park.
The event, free and open to the public, will show movies throughout July and August at 9 p.m. Fridays at Canyon City Park hosted by Painted Sky Center for the Arts.
About 40 moviegoers rolled out their blankets on the grass on Friday for “Harry and the Hendersons.” Weigum proudly said the 1980s fantasy comedy about a suburban family that accidentally and unwittingly brings home a Bigfoot was her pick.
‘Go Outside Campaign’
Weigum said Movie Night in the Park is one of the various activities from the “Go Outside” campaign.
She said the campaign is a community health initiative designed to encourage people to get outside and manage their mental, emotional and physical health by participating in community events outdoors.
The campaign kicked off Wednesday with the first Yoga in the Park session, according to Weigum. She said Ashley Stevick of Green Yoga Community taught the session at the John Day Park. The classes will continue from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through July and August.
Sponsored by the Grant County Community Health Improvement Coalition, Blue Mountain Hospital and Community Counseling Solutions, Weigum said the goal is to give people the opportunity to be a part of the community and feel connected, especially after more than a year of pandemic restrictions.
Weigum said, while local health officials have worked on similar strategies over the last couple of years, COVID-19 accelerated the development of the “Go Outside” campaign.
She said the campaign was also born out of the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment.
The assessment, a component of the Affordable Care Act, requires Blue Mountain Hospital to survey the community every three years and identify health needs within the overall population.
“So it was really born out of collaborative, brainstorming sessions between community partners around how to serve our community better,” she said. “And how to identify these gaps that we’ve all recognized.”
During these sessions, she said one of the goals was to encourage outdoor recreation and reduce substance abuse and dependency.
She said the group collectively asked, “What if we encouraged people to go outside, and what if we offered fun, free things and we offered some incentives to get people outside?”
Weigum said anyone who attends an event sponsored by the “Go Outside” campaign would automatically be entered into a raffle.
She said they would pick three different winners at the end of each month. Prizes include outdoor items that range from a Traeger Grill to an inflatable paddleboard and other gear.
Weigum said this week’s Wednesday event will also have live music from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Timbers Bistro will cater the event.