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Come eat, drink and see movies

A festival-style party in the parking lot awaits patrons of the refurbished and expanded Spring Hill 8 theater this evening.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., visitors can listen to live music, eat pizza and ice cream, enter drawings to win prizes and meet costumed movie characters.

Entertainment will include performances by the Suncoast Cloggers, magician Timothy Fox and Men of Note, an a cappella group from Busch Gardens. Clowns will walk the grounds.

"There will be a bounce house and a balloon typhoon for the kids. There will be something for all ages," said Troy McDaniel, general manager of the Hollywood 18 theater in Port Richey, which held its grand opening last week. Both Spring Hill 8 and Hollywood 18 are owned by Cobb Theatres.

McDaniel said an exciting part of the event will be free helicopter rides offered by Timmons Helicopters of Hudson. "Everyone seems to really like that," he said.

Judy Marlow, manager of the Spring Hill theater, said drawings will take place throughout the evening. The prizes include king-sized waterbeds, car stereos, bicycles, gift certificates to several local stores, one-day cruises for two, weekend accommodations at a Quality Inn motel, and tickets to Weeki Wachee Spring and Busch Gardens.

"There will be so many things given away," Marlow said. "They're too numerous to mention them all."

Marlow said free movie posters also will be handed out.

Under a large tent will be a variety of free food and refreshments from about 10 local restaurants and stores, including pizza, barbecue, ice cream, tacos and drinks.

The theater's ribbon-cutting will begin at 7 p.m., with movies starting shortly thereafter.

"We hope everyone in the community comes out and enjoys themselves," McDaniel said. "It will be a lot of fun."

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