It’s 75° and the sun is shining as passersby on the street duck inside the Romance Theater for a break from the heat. They’re hit with the familiar smell of popcorn and hot dogs.
“It’s like a carnival,” someone says as they place a raffle ticket in a metal bowl.
They have arrived at the Romance Theater’s quarterly Extended Play Cinema event on Saturday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. The featured film was The Sandlot.
The extended play cinema series is meant to offer an immersive movie experience to the audience.
“We chose The Sandlot because it’s such a fun way to kick off summer,” Emily Miller, the Rexburg Cultural Arts media specialist, said. “Baseball, swimming pools, sports legends, a big scary dog. It really has it all: Humor, drama, life lessons and some of the best one-liners of any movie. It’s nostalgic for the adults and a fun, new experience for some of the kids.”
The lobby of the Romance Theater was filled with Sandlot-specific decorations, including a hot dog buffet, a selfie station equipped with baseballs, gloves, a bat and helmet, The Sandlot trivia and a craft area where patrons and their kids made baseball pennants.
Included with the purchase of a ticket was a blue baseball hat which served as a swag bag.
“Tucked inside the hat you’ll find sparklers, a baseball stress ball, Cracker Jacks, gum and a buy one, get one free coupon to Rexburg Rapids,” Miller said. “The Sandlot is the ultimate summer movie, and there were so many fun things to pick from to include in our swag, prizes and activities.”
The night included a CPR demonstration by Ezekiel Deniger, a lifeguard of five years and a freshman studying biology.
“I think The Sandlot is funny because it’s a little relatable,” Deniger said. “You do get some of those kids that try to play pranks on you, so you gotta be aware of those. Yeah, but as long as you know your stuff, you save lives. Everyone should be CPR certified.”
Outside the theater were corn hole and ring toss stations where the community could enjoy classic carnival games.
Before the movie started, attendees gathered in the theater to see if their swag bag purchase paid off and they won a raffle. The prizes included a whiffle ball and bat, two packages of big league chew and two The Sandlot-themed T-shirts.
“I just really think this is a great way to bring the community together as one, you know, it’s a great way to escape real-world problems, just relax and unwind and get to know each other and make new friends,” Deniger said. “It’s a really great bonding experience … It’s perfect for date nights if you come on down and do these sorts of things with the community.”
More information can be found on the Rexburg Arts website.