Ride a bike down Linden Street on a Thursday night, pull into the New Belgium Brewery and descend upon hoards of moviegoers for the Bike-In Cinema.
Grab a bike and a blanket, pack up the pooch, grab a piece of grass and set up a chair to watch a movie in front of the brewery.
Under the stars of the fall sky, during the last three Thursdays of August and the first three of September, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people gather at the brewery to watch various movies, drink cheap, good beer and meet new people.
New Belgium teamed up with Arts Alive in about 2004 to begin the outdoor movie night. The plan, said Anne Macdonald, vice chairman of the Arts Alive Board of Directors, was for people to ride bikes to the brewery. A non-profit organization was needed to run the event.
New Belgium chooses the movie. The admission fee goes to New Belgium or the movie rental. The screen, big enough for hundreds to see, is inflatable. It is set up at the end of New Belgium’s parking lot.
Food is sold at the event, but Macdonald said people are welcome to bring their own refreshments.
The money raised from the beer sales goes to Arts Alive for a fellowship program. There are five fellowships and both high school and junior high school students can participate in art making.
Macdonald said she thinks that the movie night is a good way to introduce students to the community.
“You just have to have an ID checked if you want to drink beer,” she said.
The brewery is thankful for the support shown by the community, Keller said.
“We are involved in what is going on around us,” he said. “Having the resources and the culture allows people to go out and see a movie that isn’t constricted by our walls and a theatre seat.”
Mike Keller, festivarian for the New Belgium Brewery, said the event is great for people to let loose.
“Let your hair down and enjoy an evening out,” he said. “The whole concept of the Bike-In Movie is to offer an evening of good, wholesome fun for the community.”
The movie starts at dusk, usually about 8:30, but people start arriving to stake their grass, or in some cases, asphalt, around 6:30. The film usually concludes around 10:30.
Todd Stoffer, a junior technical journalism major attended the movie night to watch The Corpse Bride.
“It’s pretty chill,” he said. “I just hung out, drank some beers and watched a movie.”
Macdonald said that rather than get plastered, guests just hang out with friends and other moviegoers, having a good time.
“[New Belgium] encourages responsible consumption and responsible biking,” Keller said.
Macdonald said movie nights are the most crowded the last two Thursdays.
“Its neat because everyone is biking in and around Old Town,” Macdonald said. “The first night there are about three or four hundred people. Last week there were about 800. We have even had as many as 1600 people.
Macdonald said that after helping out with the event or four years, she thinks it is fun to see the bikes and the returning customers.
“It is so nice to work with a great audience,” she said.
Sept. 13: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Sept. 20: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby