By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Township of Ocean – When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ocean Mayor Chris Siciliano knew that people were going to need an activity to bring them together following all the safety protocols. Drive-in movie night was the answer, a welcome blast from the past most kids at the event never heard of.
Thursday night 88 vehicles were parked in Palaia Park to watch the “Lion King”. Siciliano said that all the marked parking spaces were set up with social distancing in mind. “We have to follow the governor’s guidelines so everybody has to be inside their vehicles, no alcohol, no smoking and following the car idling laws which is no longer than three minutes,” said Siciliano.
Those wishing to attend had to register on line with the township, with residents getting first priority. At this first showing people were unable to have the tops of their convertibles down and could not sit in the bed of a pick-up. However, with more movie nights planned Siciliano hopes to allow those as the governor loosens the restrictions.
“We will make a few adjustments such as a more permanent screen, more external speakers for the back rows,” added Siciliano. The audio of the movie was available over the cars radio, with those in attendance asked to tune into a certain radio station. “We had a lot of fun and zero incidents. We will be holding another movie night on June 10, with a rain date of June 14.” The next movie will be “Toy Story 4.”
“A big shout out to Kirk and Carlos for their ingenuity and perseverance creating our big screen,” Siciliano said. The weather was not the most cooperative as the staff was setting up the screen, so they quickly made a surface that was secure and visible. Another huge thanks went to Robert Silverstein and Middlebrook at Monmouth for their generosity in sponsoring the event.
Siciliano, along with Deputy Mayor John P. Napolitani, Sr., Councilwoman Margie Donlon, MD., Councilmen Robert V. Accera, Sr. and David Fisher, DC., were on hand to guide vehicles into the park and help everyone leave in a safe and orderly fashion.