Budgeting For The Big Screen

“This is always a big event for Meridian, and one of the problems we have had in the past is there isn’t seating in the downtown plaza where we hold the event. If people are near the back of the crowd, they can’t see the kids who are singing or dancing in the program because they can’t see the stage,” he says.

The city set up the screen in the plaza by the stage, and turned it into a larger-than-life event. Before the ceremony, officials showed How the Grinch Stole Christmas. During the tree-lighting ceremony, they set up a video camera to project onto the screen what was happening onstage.

“Everything is now projected on the huge screen,” Moss says. “Even people in the back of the crowd–who have no chance of seeing the stage–can easily see what is happening.”

Every year, the city hosts an essay contest for fifth graders titled, “What the Winter Holiday Means to Me,” and the mayor announces the winners, shakes their hands, and presents the kids with their awards. In the future, Moss says the city is going to expand this theme to have a short-film contest for high-school students on “Winter Spirit.” They can do the films in conjunction with a class project. The entries will be shown on the screen at the ceremony.

Spreading The Word

“When we started Movie Night in Meridian, it was a unique idea in Idaho,” Moss says. “I presented a session at the annual Idaho Recreation and Parks Association Conference about how other cities can get their own Movies in the Park Program started. I shared with them the sponsorship package, and provided links to resources. Several people expressed interest for their cities. This is really a great, fun program that every city can enjoy.”

The inflatable movie screen has gone beyond movies in the park. It has evolved to become an integral part of how Meridian works and plays.

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