Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema

Look to the skies


What: Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema

When: 8 pm Sat., Jul. 1 -26

Where: Fairhaven Village Green

Cost: $5


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I’d hazard a guess that, during a certain few days of very late spring/very early summer, no one on this patch of Earth is more obsessed with the weather than Epic Events’ Doug Borneman.

In the years that he’s been helming the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema, he’s surely learned to take Washington’s capricious weather in stride, and beginning his popular film series during what is commonly known as “Juneuary” instead of waiting for the more reliable good weather that typically follows the Fourth of July is a gamble he’s grown accustomed to. Some years it works out, some years he gets rained out, but it’s generally touch-and-go until the last minute.

Not so much this year.

The Sat., June 24 showing of Ghostbusters could not have come with a more ideal forecast for a night of movie-going under the stars: record-setting heat during the day, followed by an evening that could be described as downright balmy. If ever there were a better night to watch Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, et al. get slimed and save New York from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, it probably only exists in Borneman’s dreams or his diary.

Now that the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema has made such a grand entrance into the summer of 2017, the remaining weeks of the series should be blue skies, calm winds and smooth sailing.

Taking place every Saturday night through Aug. 26, when dusk happens early enough to remind us that fall is just around the corner, the annual run of al fresco films features favorites from many different film genres, the only theme tying them together is their ability to draw a crowd. Aiding that endeavor is the entertainment that precedes each show, which ranges from bands to hula dancers to circus tricks—anything to keep the crowd engaged before the sun goes down and the bright lights (relatively speaking) of the open-air movie theater go up.

Even if you missed out on Slimer and Gozer, you can get your fill of crazy creatures when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (opener: Brass Patriots) shows July 1. After that, the women of Hidden Figures (opener: the Sweet Goodbyes) will appear on yet another movie screen in Bellingham on July 8, making their domination of this city’s theaters complete. The female-forward programming continues with Moana on July 15, and she’ll be joined by Aloha Hula NW, who will dance before dusk.

Be forewarned: You’ll probably want to stake your spot early on July 22, as that’s when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story shows (opener: Circus Variety with Strangely)—who needs IMAX when you can watch celestial battle be waged under actual stars? Things remain fanciful—but in a whole different, weirder way—when Gene Wilder reminds us who the real Willy Wonka is in the 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. That screening will be preceded by a chocolate game show, which I can only imagine could result in chocolate prizes for some lucky winners.

August opens with family-friendly fare that will also entertain adults when Raiders of the Lost Ark (opener: Circus Variety with Wren and Della) plays Aug. 5, which will be followed by Finding Dory (opener: Brian Ernst) on Aug. 12.

After that, you might be in the mood for a visually stunning, Oscar-winning musical, in which case you’ll want to wander your way to La La Land (opener: Bellingham Dance Company) on Aug. 19—and if you’re thinking that a movie like that one was made for a venue such as this, I’m right there with you.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Outdoor Cinema without The Princess Bride (opener: Claymazing) making an appearance, and Wesley, Buttercup and their motley crew of friends, enemies and frenemies will close out the 2017 series Aug. 26.

Although the movies of the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema may change, its guidelines and venue have not. The movies can be found each week on the 30-foot screen bookends one side of the Fairhaven Village Green. Bring your own seating, with “seating” in this case meaning blankets and cushions—if you’d like to plant yourself in a chair, you may do so, but you’ll be limited to the brick area surrounding the grass. Movies start at dusk, preshow entertainment begins about an hour before that, and five bucks snags you a spot until the spots are all gone. Feel free to bring your own food and non-boozy beverages, but if you are sans snacks and with hunger, local vendors will be on hand to tempt you with your edible wares. Other than that, the rules of movie theaters everywhere apply: Be considerate of those around you and try and refrain from throwing anything at the screen. Lastly, take a page out of Borneman’s book and always check the weather before embarking to see stars under the stars.

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