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Neighbors of Kane County

Primrose Farm summer event garners industry recognition for St. Charles Park District

Feb 05, 2016 03:13PM ● By Neighbors Magazines

The Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) has awarded the St. Charles Park District its “Outstanding Special Event” award for the “Night at the Moovies” interactive program centered around an outdoor showing of the 1939 film classic, “The Wizard of Oz.” The event took place at Primrose Farm on the evening of Saturday, June 27, 2015.

Presented during the IPRA’s annual conference on Friday, January 29, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency, Chicago, the award recognizes the extraordinary creativity of park district staff and volunteers that resulted in enthusiastic community response to this multifaceted event.

“We’re so incredibly honored that IPRA bestowed us with this award,” said Laura Johns, Manager of Farm Programs and Interpretive Services. “Even better than the award, however, was the community support for this brand new event. Folks showed up and brought their families – they played exciting games, got a taste of 1930s farm life, and watched a movie under the stars. We’re already looking forward to the next Night at the Mooovies!” 

As the premier state conference for parks and recreation, forest preserve and conservation agencies, the 3-day IPRA conference gathers more than 4,400 industry and elected officials for educational programming and professional development.  In addition to being an honor bestowed by their peer professionals, the “Outstanding Special Event” accolade further elevates the St. Charles Park District’s reputation as being an innovative and responsive community service.

A festive summertime date-night or fun family outing, the “Night at the Moovies” attracted more than 100 participants who enjoyed the park district’s transformation of its historic 1930’s-era farm into an open-air movie theater.  It was the perfect spot to replicate the fictional 1930s Kansas farm homestead of Uncle Henry, Auntie Em, Dorothy and Toto, as visitors were transported back to a simpler time.  Straw bales provided farm-style seating, while Primrose Farm’s resident cows, sheep and chickens further contributed to the nostalgic atmosphere.

There was no cost to view the movie, but visitors could select from a variety of options to enhance their movie-going experience.  Purchase of an Activity Pass allowed early access to the grounds where visitors could participate in Oz-themed games such as “Drench the Witch,” “Pin the Heart on the Tin Man” and broomstick relay races.  Costumed characters from Dorothy to Glinda the Good Witch posed for memorable photo ops, while guests enjoyed movie-themed treats like Rainbow Skittles and Lollipop Guild Lollies.  An Interactive Movie Pack provided props and gadgets to be used when the movie’s in-person narrator called for audience participation, such as blowing soap bubbles when Glinda the Good Witch descended to Oz in her giant bubble.

“We’ve already started planning for our second annual Night at the Mooovies,” said Johns. “On Saturday, June 25th we’ll take another trip to Oz. While the movie will be the same great classic, the games and activities will be new for 2016. We hope everyone will come over the rainbow with us again this year!”

The “Outstanding Special Event” award plaque will be presented to the St. Charles Park District Board of Commissioners at their February 23 meeting to be held at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, 3795 Campton Hills Road in St. Charles.

For more information about the Primrose Farm event and IPRA award, contact Laura Johns, Primrose Farm Manager at 630-513-4374.

Text stcparks to 223344 to receive St. Charles Park District event notices and offers.