Imagine the scene: Around 200 people have their blankets out and their chairs unfolded on a lawn in the Berkshires, pointed at a movie screen. The air is hot, and daylight is just barely holding on. A hush falls over the crowd as opening credits roll; a shared experience begins.
This is real life — and you could be part of it. There are free outdoor movies playing all over Berkshire County, all summer. Why not grab a lawn chair, pack a picnic and pick a flick?
You can choose a classic film like "Pillow Talk," from 1959, starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day, which was recently rescheduled for Aug. 7 in Williamstown. Or you can go contemporary, with movies like "Zootopia" in Adams on July 22.
Suzy Helme, North Adams' events coordinator, and her husband Brian take their three children to two to five outdoor movies a summer between MASS MoCA's annual movie at the airport, the drive-in, and local outdoor films.
"It's a treat for everyone," Helme said. "We get to watch a movie we like in a memorable setting with the family, and I think it endears that movie to the kids."
Around 200 people go to Friday Flicks in Williamstown, run by Images Cinema, said managing director Janet Curran.
"I think people like it simply because it's fun to watch movies outside with a large group of people," she said. "It's also an affordable family night out."
Pack some snacks for the best experience, and make sure to bring a chair or a blanket and pillow to lay on the lawn with. If you're not the lunchbox/cooler type, bring some cash — there are often concessions or food vendors, or walkable food options. Don't forget bug spray and wet wipes — "always bring wet wipes," said Helme.
And bring a date, or friends, or the whole family.
"That makes the whole experience more fun," said Curran.
In fact, the crowd is part of the experience. Expect to run into neighbors, and expect your kids to run into their friends. A big, fun, free event in the Berkshires means you're going to catch up with some people you haven't seen recently.
"It really feels like the whole community is there watching the movie with you," said Curran.
If you go ...
Grab some popcorn and a blanket for those chilly summer nights in the Berkshires and catch a screening at one of these upcoming free movie events:
Family Flicks Under the Stars: Morgan Lawn, top of Spring Street, Williamstown
Outdoor summer film series presented by Images Cinema. Each film screens at sundown (around 8:15 to 8:30 p.m.) Free, for all ages. Concessions available. Bring your own chairs, blankets and bug spray.
• Sunday, July 17: "Inside Out"
• Sunday, July 24: "Groundhog Day"
• Sunday, July 31: "School of Rock"
• Sunday, Aug. 7: "Pillow Talk"
Outdoor Movies at Clapp Park: West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield. Hosted by the City of Pittsfield's Recreation Program. Free. Movies begin at dusk (around 8:30 p.m.) Bring your chairs and blankets.
• Friday, July 22: "Inside Out"
• Friday July 29: "Hotel Transylvania 2"
(Rain dates Aug. 5, 12)
Movies Under the Stars: This Adams town favorite has moved from the Town Hall lawn to the Adams' Visitors Center lawn, which opens at 7:30 p.m. Fridays for seating with the movie starting at dusk. Concessions will be available.
• Friday, July 22: "Zootopia"
• Friday, July 29: "Homeward Bound"
• Friday, Aug. 5: "Norm of the North"
•Friday, Aug. 12: "Pan"